Rising Thai star Rattanon Wannasrichan will defend the prestigious Thailand Open trophy when the event returns on the Asian Tour Schedule from June 7 to 10.

The 22-year-old convincingly won his first Asian Tour title last year by romping to a three-shot victory over Indian stalwarts Gaganjeet Bhullar and Shiv Kapur. He will be buoyant by his winning memories when he returns to the Thai Country Club next month.

Rattanon will be joined by a host of stars including 2017 Asian Tour number one Scott Hend of Australia, Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei, Xiao Bowen of China and Richard T. Lee of Canada at the US$300,000 event.

The baby-faced Rattanon enjoyed a sensational season in 2017 by winning the Thailand Open and securing three other top-five results before finishing 32nd on the Habitat for Humanity Standings.

He did not play his best golf towards the end of last year after changing his swing, but he is slowly turning the corner. He finished tied-fifth at the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open in January and shared fourth place at the Panasonic Open Golf Championship in Japan last month.

“I hit the ball so well last year and I’m very happy I won. I felt good after my win but my form hasn’t been good after changing my swing. I hit a natural draw but I’m trying to hit more fades to avoid trouble. My swing is slowly getting better,” said Rattanon.

The soft-spoken Thai hopes to keep the revered Thailand Open trophy on home soil. Rattanon will also be motivated to do well in the event which will be part of the Panasonic Swing. He finished third in the 2017/2018 ranking which concluded at the Panasonic Open Golf Championship and won a bonus of US$30,000.

“I’m feeling confident. After playing on the course last year, I know whoever can make the most putts will win. I hope I can win again, but if I can’t I’ll be very happy if a Thai golfer wins the trophy,” he said.

Rattanon was among nine players who won their first Asian Tour titles in 2017. He is also among a strong group of Asian Development Tour (ADT) players who have won on the ADT and the region’s premier Tour.

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