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Golf: Thongchai, Lahiri ‘boost’ Asian golf with Presidents Cup places

Thongchai Jaidee will finally make his Presidents Cup debut at the age of 45. Photo: Asian Tour.

Thongchai Jaidee will finally make his Presidents Cup debut at the age of 45. Photo: Asian Tour.

 September 8, 2015: Thai great Thongchai Jaidee and India No. 1 Anirban Lahiri and Korea-born New Zealander Danny Lee will make their Presidents Cup debuts in Korea next month after qualifying for the International Team to face the United States.

 

Lahiri, Thongchai and Lee finished seventh, ninth and 10th respectively on the International Team rankings. Lahiri, the current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader and World No. 40, has had a spectacular season, winning twice and finishing tied fifth at the PGA Championship last month for his best career finish in a Major.

 

“I can’t describe the feeling because growing up, you look up to events like the Ryder Cup and feel terrible about it as you can’t be a part of something like that. But thankfully, we have the Presidents Cup for us to aim for and it is an achievement to make the team,” Lahiri said.

 

“I know Jeev [Milkha Singh] was really close to getting in one year when he was in the world’s top 50 and unfortunately he couldn’t due to injury. It would have done a lot of good for golf, not just in India but in Asia.

 

“I’m looking forward to being a part of the International Team. It’ll be a massive boost for golf in the region. You get so many eyeballs and everybody in America will be watching. To be a part of something historic like that is extremely special. All I want to do is make sure that I get a point for the International Team.”

 

The evergreen Thongchai, the World No. 44, has come close to making the International Team previously and was delighted to add another career highlight to his glowing resume, which includes a record three Asian Tour Order of Merit crowns.

 

The Thai legend was the playing captain for Team Asia in the come-from-behind 10-10 draw with Team Europe in last year’s inaugural EurAsia Cup in Malaysia where he defeated Graeme McDowell in the singles. Lahiri was also part of that team, contributing two points out of three including a singles win over Victor Dubuisson.

 

“It’s a proud moment for me. It’ll be the first time that a Thai player will play in the Presidents Cup,” said the 45-year-old, who holds 13 Asian Tour victories and has also triumphed twice on European soil.

 

“I think it can help the other young Asian players. When they see that I can get into the team, then they too will aim for it.”

 

Jason Day, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Branden Grace, Marc Leishman and Charl Schwartzel are the other International Team members. Captain Nick Price and US Captain Fred Couples were set to each name their two picks on Tuesday.

 

Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Jimmy Walker, Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar and Chris Kirk were the US automatic qualifiers.

 

The Presidents Cup will be held at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Songdo IBD, Incheon City, from October 6-11.

 

Source: Asian Tour (www.asiantour.com); Editing by SportAsia

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