Image from Asian Tour
CHAPCHAI READY TO SET SAIL AGAINST STAR-STUDDED FIELD IN INDIA
Big-hitting Thai star Chapchai Nirat is relishing his title defence of the SAIL Open on the Asian Tour next week by declaring his intention to rewrite his world scoring record over 72 holes.
Last year, the 26-year-old stormed to an 11-stroke victory en route to a staggering 32-under-par 256 winning aggregate at the Classic Golf Resort, the lowest winning score on any international Tour.
While the US$300,000 event, celebrating its third edition this year, will move to the challenging Delhi Golf Club from March 30 to April 2 (Tuesday to Friday), the Thai hero is undeterred of the challenges that may lie ahead.
India’s top stars including Jyoti Randhawa, Asia’s number one in 2002, Gaganjeet Bhullar, winner of the season-opening Asian Tour International, Shiv Kapur, rookie of the year in 2005, reigning Hero Honda Indian Open champion C. Muniyappa and S.S.P. Chowrasia will carry the local charge.
Australians Scott Hend, David Gleeson and Marcus Both, all winners on the Asian Tour, will also head full speed to the SAIL Open in search of their first title of the season.
But all eyes will certainly be on Chapchai.
“I’ll be aiming for 33-under-par this time!” said the burly Thai, who is one of the longest hitters on the Asian Tour.
“I was happy to set a new world scoring record last year and it was also a record for every one on the Asian Tour to savour.”
Chapchai acknowledged that the tree-lined Delhi Golf Club will offer a different kind of test compared to last year’s venue. He said it was logical to keep his driver in his bag in his search of a fourth career Asian Tour victory.
Still, the fact that China’s Liang Wen-chong had established an 18-hole record with a 12-under-par 60 at the Delhi Golf Club in 2008 would provide encouragement for Chapchai to aim for the flags next week.
“The DGC is a tough course as it’s very tight. You can’t miss your tee shots and you’ve got to be consistent off the tee. I may have to leave my driver behind in Bangkok,” said Chapchai.
“Last year, I could use my driver all the time and the second shots were easy into the greens. I’ll need to come up with a good game plan.”
While his stunning triumph saw him make worldwide headlines, Chapchai hopes to repeat as champion as a gift for his newborn son.
“I hope to win for my son, Mew, who was born on February 24. I’m happy to be a father. I’m not sure how it will affect me but it is a different feeling all together,” he said.