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Golf: Thai star Thongchai begins push for President’s Cup team at Oak Hill

Indonesian Masters - Round ThreeJuly 30, 2013: Thongchai Jaidee has an added incentive at next week’s PGA Championship (August 8-11) as he bids to play his way into the International Team for the Presidents Cup in October and complete a personal milestone of featuring in every major golf competition.


The Thai, the only man to win three Asian Tour Order of Merit titles, is currently one rung outside the automatic top-10 selection for captain Nick Price’s team to face the United States.


Thongchai (pictured) has three more tournaments, starting with the PGA Championship at Oak Hill, to qualify. He’s currently practising in his hometown of Lopburi, north of Bangkok, after playing five tournaments during a six-week stretch that culminated with a tied 32nd finish at The Open Championship at Muirfield, Scotland.


“I’m still working on getting stronger. I’ve worked on my putting and also with my short game. I have not played at Oak Hill before and being a Major, I expect it to be tough,” Thongchai said.


“I need to play well in my next three tournaments before the cut-off. If I do, then I can get into the top 10. If I can get in, it will be good for my country and Asia. It would also be something new in my career, as I have played in every major championship, all the World Golf Championships events and also the World Cup.


“However, I’ve not played in the Presidents Cup. It would be something special in my career.


Thongchai has registered seven top-10s this season, including a runner-up finish at the Volvo World Match Play Championship, and is currently ranked 58th in the world, trailing 10th-placed Tim Clark of South Africa by a mere 0.05 points on the Official World Golf Ranking.


After the PGA Championship, the former Thai paratrooper will play in the Johnnie Walker Championship in Scotland before defending his title at the Wales Open at the end of August.


“I know the golf course quite well at the Johnnie Walker Championship and enjoyed a top-10 there previously and then I’ll be looking forward to defending my title in Wales. That win was certainly one of my biggest of my career,” added Thongchai.


The cut-off for the top-10 selection is September 2 while the team captains will announce two wild card picks two days later.


“I spoke to Nick Price during the US Open (in June). He was encouraging me to keep playing well and to qualify for the team. I have known him for a long time as we’ve played together on numerous occasions. It will be great to be in his team,” said the 43-year-old Thongchai, holder of 13 Asian Tour victories.


Thongchai is determined to earn automatic selection after missing out on a captain’s wild card four years ago after just finishing outside the top-10.


“There are many good players in contention for the International Team. If I play well, it will good enough. I will try in my next three tournaments. I was close several years ago, but I wasn’t picked.”


Photo: Asian Tour

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