New Asian Tour winner Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand will head to the US$3 million Maybank Championship which starts on Thursday with renewed confidence.
The 21-year-old enjoyed a life-changing victory at the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open last week which earned him a spot in this week’s Maybank Championship staged at the Saujana Golf and Country Club.
His entry into the event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour was a blessing for the young Thai, who had limited playing opportunities prior to his win as he lost his Tour card after a lacklustre 2016 season. He also missed the grade at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January.
But he finally fulfilled his potential in Bangladesh and credited his two weeks stint as a monk for helping him overcome the challenging period in his career.
“I made peace with pressure and I guess the experience of being a monk helped. It helped me become a better person and I look at the world in a different perspective. I’m more positive towards everything now,” said Jazz.
He showed maturity beyond his young age, fending off the strong challenge from local hero Siddikur Rahman to cross the finishing line in style
Jazz will join an elite field this week which includes defending champion Marcus Fraser of Australia and Major champions Danny Willett of England and Charl Schwartzel of South Africa.
“I came close to winning before but missed out on the chances. I wasn’t disappointed because I knew my chance would come soon. I just accepted my result as it is. I guess those setbacks helped in my game. The win came sooner than I thought.
“I have been waiting for this win for so long. I started playing on the Asian Tour when I was an amateur at 14. It’s just a huge relief that I managed to get the job done. It wasn’t easy. I took a step back as I lost my card for the first time in my career last season. I didn’t make the mark at Qualifying School too.
“Honestly, I was actually hoping to get an invite to the Maybank Championship but now I don’t think I need it anymore. I don’t have to worry about the rest of the season too,” smiled Jazz, the youngest player at the age of 14 years and 71 days to make the cut on the Asian Tour.
The victory moved Jazz to eighth place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit with earnings of US$54,000. The evergreen Prayad Marksaeng, who won his 10th title three weeks ago, stays in the lead with winnings of US$182,362.
Asian Tour rookie Todd Sinnott of Australia trails in second place on US$144,250 while Carlos Pigem of Spain (US$82,500) and Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines (US$69,905) sit in third and fourth places respectively.
Asian Tour Order of Merit – Top-20
Pos Player Order of Merit (US$)
- Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) US$182,362
- Todd SINNOTT (AUS) US$144,250
- Carlos PIGEM (ESP) US$82,500
- Juvic PAGUNSAN (PHI) US$69,905
- Jbe KRUGER (RSA) US$69,090
- Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA) US$69,090
- Younghan SONG (KOR) US$66,000
- Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) US$54,000
- K.T. KIM (KOR) US$44,350
- Miguel TABUENA (PHI) US$43,400
- Shubhankar SHARMA (IND) US$39,156
- Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) US$33,000
- Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) US$26,418
- Sihwan KIM (USA) US$20,325
- Dodge KEMMER (USA) US$18,900
- Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) US$18,626
- Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) US$17,559
- Keith HORNE (RSA) US$17,559
- Angelo QUE (PHI) US$16,821
- Danthai BOONMA (THA) US$16,125