Fresh from winning an unprecedented third Asian Tour Order of Merit crown in Hong Kong a fortnight ago, Thongchai has now turned his attention to bringing honour and glory to his country after a stellar season where he enjoyed wins in Indonesia and Korea followed by a noteworthy tied 13th finish in the British Open at Turnberry, Scotland.
“The World Cup is a world-class event. I enjoy coming here to play and have played here three times in a row already. But ultimately our aim is to do better than last year,” said the newly-crowned 2009 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion.
“I can’t really foresee what will happen over the next few days but I believe it will all come down to our partnership. Prayad and I play very well together and we should be able to put up a good showing for Thailand this week,” said Thongchai.
Six-time Asian Tour winner Prayad also echoes Thongchai’s desire for putting nationalistic pride as the top priority as they go in search of improving their previous finish of tied-seventh last year.
Regarded as the most successful golfers in Thailand with a total of 18 Asian Tour victories between them, Thongchai and Prayad are capable of matching any of the world’s best players when they hit top form.
“It’s always an honour to represent your country. I’ve played together with Thongchai in several team events and we know each other playing styles well. I believe we’ll do well if we stay focus and follow our game plan,” said Prayad who has enjoyed two tied-second finishes on the Asian Tour this season and is currently lying in ninth place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
Meanwhile Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang who made his maiden World Cup appearance last year when he finished in tied-24th is seeking to end a long overdue win for Chinese Taipei since its last and lone World Cup win in 1972.
Lin who was Asia’s number two in 2008 believes that as the exciting Asian Tour season heads to a close, the Omega Mission Hills World Cup will give him the added motivation to perform well so as to end his season on a high.
“This has been a good year for me. I won my fifth Asian Tour title on home soil in October after taking a long break to spend time with my family and I’m feeling good about my game now,” said Lin who will partner one-time Asian Tour winner, Lu Wei-chih.
“To win the World Cup this week will be the greatest achievement to round off a good season not only for me but also my country,” added the 35-year-old Chinese Taipei player.
From 1972 to 1980, Chinese Taipei has also never finished outside the top-10 and they will head into the Omega Mission Hills World Cup as one of the leading Asian contenders.
The 2009 Omega Mission Hills World Cup will feature 28 nations vying for the US$5.5 million total prize money on Mission Hill’s renowned Olazabal Course. 18 of these two-man teams were selected based on the Official World Golf Ranking and another nine advanced through regional qualifiers.
Other nations amongst the favourites to take the Omega Mission Hills World Cup are Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, England’s Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher, the Australian pairing of Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby, Denmark’s Søren Hansen and Søren Kjeldsen, Germany’s Martin Kaymer and Alex Cejka, the US team of Nick Watney and John Merrick and the South African pairing of Rory Sabbatini and Richard Sterne.
Provided by Asian Tour