Photo - Asian Tour
THONGCHAI EYES MAJOR STRIPES AT BRITISH OPEN
St Andrews: Thai ace Thongchai Jaidee believes he is capable of winning a Major championship as he prepares a title assault at the British Open starting on Thursday.
The reigning Asian Tour number one said he previously aimed to simply make the halfway cut but after coming close at last year’s Open at Turnberry, he reckons his lifelong dream of hoisting a Major trophy can become a reality.
“I am getting closer towards winning a Major. I used to set a goal of just making the cut as the motivation and last year, I did much better than the goal I set. This week I will try my best but I will not to put too much pressure on myself. I have a strong passion to win in my mind but we will see how it goes,” said Thongchai.
The former paratrooper entered last year’s final round four shots off the lead before eventually finishing tied 13th for his best result in a Major. Returning to the Home of Golf has also brought back happy memories as he wrote a small slice of history here in 2005 by becoming the first Thai to play in all four rounds, finishing tied 52nd.
“I was pleased with my performance at Turnberry as I hit it well from tee to green under the daily changing conditions. However, I still need to work on my concentration. It was a great opportunity last year,” said Thongchai, who holds the most victories on the Asian Tour with 12 wins.
“Currently, I am in good form. I’m hitting my driver and irons straight to the target. But my putting has been a bit off. I’m still toying with a few different putters for this week,” he said.
With poor weather expected for the first round, the 40-year-old knows the elements will pose the biggest challenge to him and the field.
“I enjoy the challenges at St Andrews and a lot will depend on the weather. The conditions are hard to predict. In one day, you can have all four seasons which make it harder to judge your shots,” he said.
“To play this course, I must focus well and put all my heart and mind to control the ball. Staying on the fairway and greens will be the key. If the weather is bad, I need to stay calm and focussed. Last week in Loch Lomond, the weather was so bad on the last day and I struggled for three holes. You have to keep going and not lose strokes.”
He is targeting a top finish this week to return into the world’s top-50, which will earn him a spot in next month’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Earlier this year, he superbly played his way into the quarter-finals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play before losing to eventual winner Ian Poulter.
“Getting back into the top-50 is my immediate aim as you want to keep playing in all the big tournaments. I’m starting to feel really comfortable when I’m at the Major championships and hopefully one day, I can win one,” said Thongchai, who is currently ranked 53rd in the world.