Thongchai aims for major hit at Masters
This handout photo taken and released on March 26, 2014 shows team Asia Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand teeing off during the EurAsia Cup in Glenamarie Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur on March 27, 2014 - by Paul Lakatos
The three-time Asian Tour number one did not make it through to the weekend rounds in his previous visits to Augusta National Golf Club in 2006 and 2010, but will be hoping it will be third-time lucky in the year’s opening major.
“I have played in all four rounds of the other three major championships but not at the Masters Tournament," he said.
"It would be my goal to make the halfway cut this time so that I get to complete my own Grand Slam of made cuts in the majors,” said the 44-year-old.
His confidence was given a massive boost after he masterminded Team Asia’s stunning fightback to share the inaugural EurAsia Cup clash against Europe last month in Malaysia.
Thongchai, the Asian captain, contributed one and half points that included a convincing 3 and 2 win over Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland in the singles.
“We had an amazing week at the EurAsia Cup, which prepared me well for the Masters Tournament,” said Thongchai, who is currently ranked 51st in the world.
“It will be great to return to Augusta National after missing it for several years. It is a very special tournament and it is good to be amongst the top players in the world. The venue is also one of the best on tour and I will be hoping to play well.”
Thongchai said his emphasis for the week would be to master the treacherous and slick greens at Augusta National.
“We all know that the greens at Augusta National are very tricky, very hard to putt on. I have been working hard on my putting and hope to spend as much time as possible on the greens at Augusta National to know them better,” said the Thai.
“If I can putt well, then I know I will have a chance to compete well during the week. When I played at Augusta National twice previously, I found it a real challenge to putt well on the greens.”
Thongchai apart, the Asian challenge at this year's Masters will also feature South Koreans Y.E. Yang, K.J. Choi, Bae Sang-moon and amateur Lee Chang-woo along with Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, making his third appearance at the Masters.
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