THAI RISING STARS JAZZ AND DANTHAI PRIMED FOR THE OPEN DEBUTS
Jazz and Danthai, aged 22 and 21 respectively, battled tooth-and-nail to finish tied fourth at the SMBC Singapore Open and was rewarded with coveted spots at The 147th Open which will be held at Carnoustie from July 19 to 22.
It has been Jazz’s life-long dream to tee up in the world’s oldest Major championship after watching his idol Tiger Woods in action at The Open in Carnoustie in 2007. 11 years later, he gave himself an opportunity to possibly play alongside his golfing idol at the same venue.
“My father brought me to watch Tiger Woods at Carnoustie when I was around 10 years old so earning my Major debut at the Carnoustie this year makes me feel really special. I have also played in the Junior Open Championship held at the Lundin Links before. It has been a long journey since,” said Jazz.
“I wasn’t expecting to qualify for The Open, but I am glad that I am in. I am very excited about teeing it up at Carnoustie, but also very nervous about playing in it even though it is still a few months away. It is a dream come true to be playing The Open. I can’t wait to be there.”
The 2017 season was a mixed year for Jazz as he started the year without an Asian Tour card. But he turned his career around with a victory at the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open in February and his career has been on the upswing since.
He made his debut on the PGA Tour last May and also earned his European Tour card for the 2017/2018 season through the Qualifying School.
“Playing in a Major tournament is every professional golfer’s dream. The Asian Tour is where I started my career. It’s a great platform that has helped me build my career. I am really grateful for all the opportunities that it has offered, especially to young players like me,” said the Thai.
Danthai, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on Tuesday, enjoyed another fine run in Singapore as he also won his first Asian Tour title in the country three years ago.
“I am very happy and proud to qualify for The Open, which is my first Major championship. I am looking forward to the challenge and experience of playing Carnoustie. It’s an early birthday present for myself,” smiled Danthai, who finished 34th on the 2017 Order of Merit.
Sean Crocker of the United States claimed the third ticket on offer to The Open after finishing seven shots back of winner Sergio Garcia in tied-sixth position at the Sentosa Golf Club. Lucas Herbert of Australia pipped Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines and Berry Henson of the United States to the fourth and final ticket on offer through his higher world ranking.
The trio ended the week in tied-eight position with Gavin Green of Malaysia, who has already qualified for The Open after winning the Asian Tour Order of Merit last season.
Jazz and Danthai share second place on the Order of Merit after taking home US$45,500. South African Shaun Norris leads the Merit ranking on US$86,500, thanks to his joint runner-up finish at the SMBC Singapore Open. Norris has also earned his ticket to The Open after finishing tied third at the Joburg Open last year.
The Tour will head to Myanmar for the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open this week. The US$750,000 event, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the JGTO, is slated to take place at the Pun Hlaing Golf Club from January 25 to 28.