China’s Liang Wen-chong is ready to get back onto the winner’s bandwagon when he steps up to the tee at the inaugural US$2 million True Thailand Classic presented by Black Mountain which starts on Thursday.
Liang’s last victory on the region’s premier Tour came slightly over 14 months ago in Manila and despite less playing time, he is itching to get back into the winner’s circle at the Black Mountain Golf Club this week.
“I’ve devoted much of my time to training and refining my game. I want to be in good shape when I play in in big events and hopefully win again,” said the 36-year-old Chinese.
Liang made history by becoming the first mainland Chinese to win the coveted Asian Tour Order of Merit crown in 2007.
He started his 2015 season with a tied-32nd finish in Malaysia last week and believes he can do even better this week.
“I always tell myself that I must put in my 100% each time I compete. As long as I give my best, that’s all the matters. I’m feeling good about my game and hopefully the results will show on Sunday,” said Liang.
With the 2016 Olympic Games in sight, Liang, who would be in the field if the qualifying cut-off was made this week, knows the importance of staying at the top of his game.
“It’s an important year and equally crucial to be at your best to earn a place in the Olympics. That’s why every event which I play in is important especially with the world ranking points at stake,” said Liang.
Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman, who recently got married last month, is also hoping to create an impression at the richest golf tournament in Thailand, which is also the first time in eight years that the European Tour has co-sanctioned an event in Thailand with the Asian Tour.
Accompanied by his wife Auroni Samaun this week, fit-again Siddikur hopes he can find similar bliss on the golf course too.
“I’m injury-free and that’s very important,” said Siddikur, who was side-lined by a back injury for the later part of the season last year.
“My wife’s here with me and she’s my good luck charm,” smiled the Bangladeshi.
Singapore’s Mardan Mamat is also confident of continuing his proud record at the Black Mountain Golf Club where he finished sixth, the last time an Asian Tour event was staged here in early 2014.
“I’ve done pretty well here on this golf course before and every time you do that, you feel confident,” said the 47-year-old.
Despite missing the cut in his season-opening event in Malaysia last week, the Singapore is ready to bounce back and contend for his fifth victory on the region’s premier Tour.
“Last week was just one of those unfortunate weeks where I missed the cut by one. But that’s golf and it’s already over. I’ve so much to look forward to now and I’m focused on the task ahead,” said Mardan.
Tickets are now available for purchase at ThaiticketMajor, with admission fees of 400 THB for a single day pass on Thursday (R1) and Friday (R2). The fee is 800 THB for a single day pass on Saturday (R3) and Sunday (Final Round). There is a four-day season pass priced at 1,200 THB. Children and youths (under 16 years old) and senior citizens (over 65 years old) are allowed to enter for free. For further ticketing reservations, purchasing and information, please contact 02-262-3456 or www.thaiticketmajor.com
ASIAN TOUR MEDIA ADVISORY
This week’s event: True Thailand Classic presented by Black Mountain
Prize Money: US$2 million (winner’s purse: US$333,330)
Venue: Black Mountain Golf Club
Starts: From February 12, Thursday till February 14, Sunday.
Top Contenders: Anirban Lahiri (Ind), Thongchai Jaidee (Tha), Thomas Bjorn (Den), Miguel Angel Jimenez (Esp), David Lipsky (Usa)
- US$2 million True Thailand Classic presented by Black Mountain is the richest golf tournament in Thailand.
- The True Thailand Classic presented by Black Mountain is the first co-sanctioned tournament by the Asian Tour and European Tour in Thailand in eight years
- An exclusive luxury town house at Black Mountain, valued at 12 million Thai baht awaits the player who scores an ace at the par-three hole 14
- India’s Anirban Lahiri is the highest ranked player at 37th this week. His triumph in Malaysia last week was his sixth win on the Asian Tour and third victory in 10 months.
- Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, a three-time Asian Tour number one and ranked 39th in the world, will spearhead the local charge alongside leading compatriots Thaworn Wiratchant, Prayad Marksaeng, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Prom Meesawat and Chapchai Nirat. The six Thai players have a combined 47 Asian Tour victories.
- Newly-crowned Order of Merit champion David Lipsky of the United States will be part of the strong Asian Tour line-up that also includes Singapore’s Mardan Mamat, Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman and Filipino Angelo Que.
- Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez and Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn are expected to provide the stiff challenge from the European Tour.
- The 7,350 yards, par-72 course at the Black Mountain Golf Club is slated to host three instalments of the Thailand Classic where a special “Pride of Thailand’’ brazed trophy awaits the winner.
- Designed by Thailand’s acclaimed Chang Sip Mu craftsmen, the ‘Pride of Thailand’ trophy features a combination of traditional Thai crafts and a contemporary design.