Photo - Asian Tour
THONGCHAI EARNS US OPEN BERTH THROUGH WORLD RANKING
Sentosa: Reigning Asian Tour number one Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand has qualified for the US Open in June after earning an exemption through the World Rankings where he lies in 46th position.
Thongchai, who has been in the top-50 in the world since February, will be joined by Asian Tour honorary member K.J. Choi of Korea at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California from June 17 to 20.
Thongchai last played in the US Open in 2001 where he made headlines by emerging as the first Thai player to play in all four rounds in the tournament and will be inspired to overcome his US Masters heartbreak where he withdrew from the second round due to an elbow injury in April.
Despite his premature campaign at the Masters, the three-time Asian Tour winner is one of Asia’s top performers with three top-10s so far this season. He also progressed into the quarter-finals of the WGC – Accenture Match Play Championship before losing to eventual winner Ian Poulter of England.
With his British Open spot secured courtesy of his Merit success last season, Thongchai will be aiming to hold on to his top-50 position in the world with a commendable result at the US Open to give himself a chance of qualifying for the fourth and final Major of the year at the PGA Championship in August.
In Japan, Asian Tour member Hiroyuki Fujita qualified for his second Major tournament this year after winning the 110th US Open Sectional Qualifying on home soil on Monday.
Fujita, who also qualified for the British Open by winning the International Final Qualifying Asia, posted a sizzling eight-under-par 64 for a two-day total of 15-under-par 129 at the Musashi Country Club to earn one of the four tickets available.
Rikard Karlberg of Sweden, who won his first Asian Tour title at the SAIL Open in India in March, will make his first appearance in a Major when he earned his ticket at the US Open Qualifier at Walton Heath, England.
Karlberg was part of a six-way play-off for the remaining five slots which he claimed with a 20 foot birdie putt on the first play-off hole.