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Golf: Thai ace Arnond gears up for new challenges at Omega European Masters

 

Arnond Vongvanij, 25, will compete in next month’s Omega European Masters, the only event in Europe jointly sanctioned by the Asian and European Tours. Photo: Asian Tour.

Arnond Vongvanij, 25, will compete in next month’s Omega European Masters, the only event in Europe jointly sanctioned by the Asian and European Tours. Photo: Asian Tour.

August 20, 2013: Thailand’s Arnond Vongvanij will tick off another career milestone when he makes his debut at the Omega European Masters at the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Switzerland from September 5-8.

 

The Omega European Masters is the only tournament held in Europe that is jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour. The event will also tee off the second half of the Asian Tour season.

 

Arnond will be among the continent’s best players resuming their search for glory and the Omega European Masters marks another significant chapter in his distinguished career since making his Asian Tour debut last year.

 

“I’m excited about playing in the Omega European Masters. It’s one of the most prestigious events on the Asian Tour schedule and the only one that takes place in Europe, so I’m really looking forward to this new experience,” Arnond said.

 

The slightly built 25-year-old, who grew up in the United States, is no stranger to the cold weather. However, with the Omega European Masters being played in the Swiss Alps, he hopes to overcome the high altitude with a tailored training regimen.

 

“I’m familiar with the cold weather because I grew up in the US and I’ve played in the cold weather there. The playing conditions will be very different, though. We’re playing in the mountains and at a higher altitude, so the weather is going to be colder and the condition of the course is going to be tougher,” Arnond said.

 

“For the altitude, I have been working with my fitness coach to improve my cardio and I’ve been playing in some mountain courses in Thailand to try to get used to it.”

 

Arnond, who was born in Hawaii, spent his formative years honing his skills at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy in Florida, but decided to turn his focus towards the Far East to gain playing opportunities on the Asian Tour.

 

Since marking a career breakthrough last year by winning the King’s Cup on home soil, Arnond has been making steady progress on the Asian Tour.

 

He started this year with a tied-10th finish at the season-opening event in Myanmar and almost added a second win when he finished runner-up at the Queen’s Cup in June. He currently lies 18th on the Order of Merit.

 

“My game started to get better from the Ballantine’s Championship and I almost won the Queen’s Cup. My ranking on the Order of Merit midway through the season has improved a lot compared to the same period last year, so overall I think my game is heading in the right direction.”

 

To date, Arnond’s happiest moment on the golf course came when he sunk his winning putt to lift the King’s Cup. He plans to add another career highlight with a noteworthy performance at the Omega European Masters, because a good result could have a significant bearing on his position on the Order of Merit at the end of the season.

 

“There are a lot of tournaments to be played in the second half of the season and my goal is to take good care of my body and avoid injuries. The ultimate goal is to win another tournament and get inside the top five on the Order of Merit.”

 

Arnond will have his boyhood idol Thongchai Jaidee, a three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, for company at the Omega European Masters along with several of Thailand’s heavyweights including Thaworn Wiratchant, Pariya Junhasavadikul, Prom Meesawat and Chapchai Nirat.

 

Other Asian Tour champions who will tee up in Switzerland include Singapore’s Mardan Mamat, India’s Jeev Milkha Singh, Australia’s Scott Hend and Bangladesh’s Siddikur.

 

They will face a stellar field from The European Tour that features the likes of Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn, Italy’s Matteo Manassero, 2010 champion Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain and Scotland’s Paul Lawrie and Richie Ramsay, the latter returning to defend his title.

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