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Thaworn seeks to end golf season in style

AFP
ANALYST
News
564   //    13 Dec 2012, 12:32 IST
This handout photo taken on December 11 shows Ernie Els in action ahead of the Iskandar Johor Open

This handout photo from the Asian Tour and taken on December 11, 2012 shows Ernie Els of South Africa in action ahead of the Iskandar Johor Open at Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Reigning British Open champion Els and several Asian Tour stars are in the running.

KUALA LUMPUR - Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant is hoping to end a memorable year by winning the $2 million Iskandar Johor Open at the Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club.

It would be his fourth Asian Tour victory this year and would secure his place as Asia’s best player for the second time since 2005. But the 15-time Tour winner faces a strong international field.

World number 20 Sergio Garcia of Spain, reigning British Open champion Ernie Els of South Africa and several Asian Tour stars could frustrate his hopes.

“It’s a crucial week but the most important thing is to stayed focused and handle the pressure well. I believe I can do it,” said Thaworn in comments released by the event organisers ahead of Thursday’s tee-off.

Australia’s Marcus Fraser, South Africa’s Jbe Kruger, India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar, Japan’s Masanori Kobayashi and Thailand’s Prom Meesawat are still in the running for the prestigious Merit crown.

“As I look back on the year, I’m happy that I’ve won three times. All three wins were very memorable and I can’t say which win was the best. But if you ask me what the highlight of the year is, I hope it would be winning the Order of Merit as that would really mean a fantastic year for me,” said Thaworn.

After victory in the British Open in July, Els hopes to end his year with another win.

“It was a dream come true for me again when I won another Major,” he said. “I think this event’s probably everyone’s last one for the year and everyone wants to do well before we go on a long break.”

Garcia, the highest ranked player this week, aims to make his debut at the Iskandar Johor Open a memorable one.

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“This is my first time playing in Malaysia and I’m happy with what I’ve seen of the place and the golf course so far,” said the Spaniard.

“It’s also my last event of the year and I’m looking forward to a good showing. It’ll be nice to put myself into contention and hopefully win. Then I’ll have a nice Christmas break and get ready for next year.”

AFP
ANALYST
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