Chonburi - Two-time
Masters champion Bubba Watson and Spanish star Sergio Garcia, both fresh from
exhilarating recent wins, are hungry for victory at Thursday's $1 million
Thailand Golf Championship.
World number four
Watson played superbly last week to claim the Hero World Challenge in the
Meanwhile Garcia held
his nerve in a thrilling four-way play-off in the Asian Tour's Ho Tran Open in
Vietnam - his first win in nearly two years.
The Thai tournament
offers Watson the chance to break his duck at the Amata Spring Country Club,
while Garcia is returning to a course that has been good to him - he won here
In a strong field,
defending champion Lee Westwood also returns, hunting a third win in this fifth
edition of the Asian Tour's flagship event.
It is the big-hitting
Watson's fourth appearance in the tournament and he is desperate to add the
trophy to his impressive haul - which includes taking the celebrated Green
Jacket in 2012 and 2014.
"I love playing
this course and I love Thailand," said Watson, who last year gave his
prize-winnings to a local charity.
"The golf course
is beautiful and the fans treat us nice."
Coming back on
statements he made in the Bahamas that if he became took top spot he would quit
playing, the affable Watson said he would probably stop playing on the PGA Tour
if that happened and just enter occasional tournaments.
But he quickly played
down the prospect saying: "let's be honest, I don't think it is very
likely that I will become No 1."
Garcia who is
currently ranked 12th in the world was pleased with his improved form after a
relatively dry spell.
He said the
nail-biting win in Vietnam, secured on the second playoff hole, was a big
confidence boost going into Thailand.
The formidable line-up
also includes former US Open champion Martin Kaymer of Germany and England's
Ryder Cup star Westwood, who has soaked up the success in Thailand.
"I always seem to
play well in Asia," said Westwood. "I love this course which is in
great condition again and I am really looking forward to this tournament."
Kaymer was runner-up
to Westwood last year and plans to go one better this time. "I'm really
determined to take the silverware home with me this time," he said.
Also in the field is
European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke, who won the 2011 Open, and Denmark's
most successful golfer Thomas Bjorn.
Leading the strong
Asian challenge is the evergreen Thai Thongchai Jaidee who at the age of 46 has
enjoyed a terrific year during which he won his seventh European title, rising
to a career-high 28th in the world rankings.
"This is a great
event and it's tremendous to see all the stars here," said the popular
Thai. "I would love to win this event in front of my home crowd."
rapidly-improving Thai, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who won two European titles this
year, will also be a player to watch.
There is also an
impressive Indian representation led by veteran star Jeev Singh who captains
Asia at the EurAsia Cup next month.