Photo - Asian Tour
CHINNARAT SET TO DEFEND QUEEN’S HONOUR
Sentosa: Thailand’s Chinnarat Phadungsil will be on defence mode as he seeks to retain the Queen’s Cup trophy on the Asian Tour this June.
The Queen’s Cup, held in honour of her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s 78th Birthday Anniversary, is revered among the Thai players and Chinnarat is aiming for a grand repeat at the panoramic Santiburi Samui Country Club from June 17 to 20.
Among those expected to challenge Chinnarat’s reign include 11-time Asian Tour winner Thaworn Wiratchant, Chapchai Nirat, who holds the 72-hole world scoring record with a stunning 32-under-par 256 winning total at the SAIL Open in India in 2009, and big-hitting Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
Other top Asian Tour players likely to converge in Koh Samui are Jason Knutzon of the United States, Gaganjeet Bhullar of India, Singaporean Lam Chih Bing and Swedish stalwart Rikard Karlberg, who won his maiden Asian Tour title at the SAIL Open in India.
“It is an honour for all Thai players to stand a chance to win the Royal Trophy by Her Majesty the Queen and it will be no different this year,” said Chinnarat, who holds the distinction of being the youngest winner on the Asian Tour at 17 years and five days after his win in the 2005 Double A International Open on home soil.
Chinnarat will be relishing a return to the holiday isle of Samui where he ended a two-year title drought and notched his third Asian Tour title well before his 21st birthday, which cemented his position as one of Asia’s rising stars.
Highly regarded as one of Thailand’s most promising players, Chinnarat edged three other players last season en route to claiming an emphatic three-stroke victory.
“My victory last year gave me more confidence especially since I didn’t win anything for quite some time. It will be a dream if I could win it again in June.
“The golf course is a beautiful course and I’m sure the local and international guests will enjoy their time in Koh Samui,” he added.
Chinnarat has one top-10 finish so far this season and said he needed to improve on his driving to give himself a good chance of securing a fourth Asian Tour title.
“I made many cuts this season and played quite well in the first two rounds but the final two rounds have been a disappointment. My overall game has been good but I need to improve on my long game, especially my driving,” he said.