Local hero Prom Meesawat is dreaming of winning this week’s US$1.75 million True Thailand Classic presented by Chang for his father Suthep but has put a strict condition on his biggest fan.
Burly Prom, a two-time Asian Tour winner, is amongst the home stars tipped to sparkle at Black Mountain Golf Club when Thailand’s richest golf event, which is co-sanctioned with The European Tour, tees off on Thursday.
With his father famed for being the first Thai to win the Thailand Open in 1991, the 31-year-old Prom said he often finds motivation to play well when his dad is amongst the galleries although it wasn’t quite the case when he was a junior golfer.
“I’ll tell you the truth … when I was young, I never liked it when he came out and followed me. I would play bad and get angry when I see him on the golf course,” said Prom.
“Now, it’s the opposite. I love to see him walking on the course when I play. But I don’t want him to make any comments about my game when he’s watching. At last year’s tournament, I could hear him say something about one shot during my round and I complained to my sister to tell him to stop making comments!
“If he makes a comment after my round, then it’s fine. I know he wants to play the shots himself since he’s a golfer. But it’s me who’s playing now. If I can pull off a win this week, it will mean a lot as it’ll be my first European Tour co-sanctioned victory and it’s at my home town and home course.”
Prom’s best finish at Black Mountain, which is also his sponsor and home course, was a tied third outing at the 2014 King’s Cup. After finishing tied 15th at the Maybank Championship Malaysia last month, the Thai took a break to prepare for the Thailand Classic.
“This is my home town, so it’s good to play a tournament here. I always enjoy playing in my home town and this is also my home course,” said Prom, who is nicknamed the Big Dolphin due to his physique and the fact that Hua Hin is a coastal town.
“It’s good to have big co-sanctioned events in Thailand like they do in Malaysia, India and Singapore. Although this is my home course it doesn’t mean it’s an advantage as it’s suited for the long hitters. But I’m always playing okay here.”
Another Thai rising star, Jazz Janewattananond is also eager to put up a strong challenge at Black Mountain. “This week is great as I get to sleep on my own bed and it’s one minute from my condo on the golf course to the first tee,’ said the 20-year-old, who is seeking a first Asian Tour victory.
“Winning the tournament will be the perfect moment. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like if I can pull off a win at home and I’ll try my best. Normally, it’s either my putting which is bad or my chipping which is bad that stops me from winning. If I can put it all together, I know I will have a chance.”
A tied fourth finish at last year’s inaugural True Thailand Classic has also given Canadian Richard T. Lee hope of another title run. “It’s good to be back. I played really well in the tournament last year and was in contention throughout the week before finishing tied fourth which set me up for a good season,” said Lee, who finished seventh on the 2015 Order of Merit.
“I find myself very comfortable playing at Black Mountain and you can really have a go at the golf course and be aggressive. Of course there is some danger around and you’ve got to keep the bogeys off the card.”
Young Korean prospect Jeunghun Wang will also be looking to launch a title charge at the True Thailand Classic after enjoying a solid start to the new season with top-10s in Singapore and Myanmar followed by a top-30 in Perth two weeks ago.
“I’m looking forward to playing well. After missing the cut in Malaysia which was disappointing, I was happy to bounce back to play well in Perth. It was good to get a strong performance in as I started really well in the season and I also played decent in the EurAsia Cup in Malaysia.
“Of course my goal is to win my first Asian Tour tournament but this is something which I cannot force to happen. I will continue to play my best golf and try to stay patient and put myself in position more often to win a golf tournament.
“I think my confidence has grown especially after playing in the EurAsia Cup. It was a good week although Team Asia lost. The opportunity to play against top players was good as I could see that they were not any different that we are. It’s just a matter of holing putts when you need to. That’s something which I’m focussing on this week at the Thailand Classic.”