Hua Hin, Thailand: Newly-wed Johan Edfors plans to produce a double celebration by successfully defending his US$600,000 Black Mountain Masters title starting on Thursday.
With Christmas around the corner, the big-hitting Swede is eager to peak at the magnificent Black Mountain Golf Club and ensure that he enjoys a memorable finish to the season
A stellar field featuring eight of the top-10 stars from the Order of Merit has gathered for the Asian Tour’s season finale, headlined by Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, fresh from a record 13th career victory in Cambodia, countryman Thaworn Wiratchant, Japan’s Tetsuji Hiratsuka, Australian Marcus Fraser and Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg.
There will also be a sprinkling of European stars in the Black Mountain Masters with Finland’s Mikko Ilonen, Pelle Edberg and Alexander Noren, both from Sweden, shooting for the US$95,100 top prize this week.
After getting married two weeks ago, Edfors knows another victory at Black Mountain would put the icing on the cake. “It would be nice, definitely,” said the 35-year-old Swede.
“This is one of my favourite courses in the world and I usually score pretty well here. I hope to get off to my normal standard and should be dangerous come Sunday.”
Edfors, who has a luxurious villa in Black Mountain, could have an edge in his defence as he helped the course owners redesign several tee boxes and waterways after last year’s victory.
“It’s been fun working with the club. I mentioned we could do some improvements and thought that it would be a five-year plan but he did them all straight away! It looks good. It fits my eye. It looks great and plays really well. It’s going to be a great tournament.”
A return to Thailand at the end of the year brings back good memories for India’s Shiv Kapur as he won the Tour’s season-ending event in Bangkok in 2005. But despite his early career promise, a second victory has failed to arrive despite coming close several times this year.
“I’ve found some late season form, played well in India (where he finished third two weeks ago). End of the season, Thailand seems to work for me. I’m going to try to work on some of that magic. It’s a great field here, it’s a fantastic venue and a great layout,” said Kapur, who is currently ranked 16th on the Order of Merit.
“It’s one of those years when I’ve been close. Finished second a couple of times but haven’t been able to win. It’ll be nice to end the year with a win. The last five years, I haven’t been able to win. I know I’ve been close enough. Sometimes, crossing that line is not necessarily technical. Sometimes, you need luck. I’m keen to try to get the win. It’ll be a great way to celebrate Christmas and the New Year.”
Luck is something which Thailand’s Prom Meesawat cannot count upon as he battles to save his Tour card. With the top-61 players keeping their playing rights for 2011, Prom, currently ranked 67th, knows he has a fight on his hands.
“It’s a very important week. I need to play well. I’ve not played well this year but my form is coming back (after two top-10s recently). I’m driving it very good now and I just need to make some putts,” said the burly Prom, who hails from Hua Hin.
He enlisted the help of the sports psychologist of the Thai boxing team and believes it will help him deal with the pressure at the Black Mountain Masters.
“He’s teaching me to relax more on the course and to cut away all the bad stuff that goes on in the mind. It’s helped. Everyone has asked me about my situation this week but I’m just going to shut them out. Obviously, I need a top-10 this week,” said Prom, who finished tied 15th in last year’s inaugural Black Mountain Masters.
Photo - Asian Tour
Asian Tour GolfGreedy.com