The European Tour travels to Thailand this week for the inaugural True Thailand Classic presented by Black Mountain at the Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin. Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thomas Bjorn are among those who will tee it up.
After last week’s Maybank Malaysian Open, the circuit remains in South East Asia for this inaugural tournament. It’s the first time a European Tour strokeplay event has been held in Thailand since the Johnnie Walker Classic of 2007.
With a first prize of almost €300,000, there’s a great opportunity for players to make a significant move up the Race to Dubai rankings this week and get closer to England’s Danny Willett at the top of the pile.
After securing his maiden victory in the Malaysian Open last week, India’s Anirbarn Lahiri plays again in this event. His victory pushed him to seventh on the European Tour standings, and into the top-50 on the Official World Golf Ranking. A good finish this time out would secure him an invitation to the U.S. Masters in April.
Four things to watch for at the True Thailand Classic this week:
1 - The old guard.
Thomas Bjorn (above) will be looking to add to his 15 European Tour titles this week. The Dane has won in Europe, Africa, Australia and the Middle East but has never claimed a title in South East Asia.
“Winning around the world is what makes you a truly global player,” he said. “And I would love to add Thailand to the list of countries where I have won.”
51-year-old Miguel Angel Jimenez comes into the tournament on good form, following his victory in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai on the Champions Tour.
“I love playing in Asia,” he said. “I’m excited about visiting Hua Hin for the first time.”
2 - U.S. players in the field.
There are a number of good players from the USA on the start list in Hua Hin. Among those with the best chance of winning include: David Lipsky – a winner on the 2014 European Tour at the Omega European Masters – and Peter Uihlein (above) – son of Acushnet CEO Wally. Peter was rookie of the year on the European Tour in 2013.
3 - The Asian Tour players.
The event is co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour so this is a great chance for players on the smaller circuit to make a name for themselves and, with a win, earn playing rights on the European Tour.
4 – The European Tour’s form players.
Alejandro Canizares (above) of Spain will tee it up after his tied third place finish last week in Malaysia. Marc Warren is also set to play in Hua Hin. The Scot was runner-up in Qatar, tied 13th in Dubai and ninth last week.