Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, December 20: Thai hotshot Danthai Boonma will be looking to bank on his winning memories from last year when he gets his title defence underway at the season-ending Boonchu Ruangkit Championship on Thursday.
The 21-year-old Danthai, who capped off a commendable season on the Asian Tour by finishing in 34th place on the 2017 Order of Merit last week, hopes to continue his fine form when he returns to his winning ground at the Rancho Charnvee Resort and Country Club.
After notching three top-10 finishes on the Asian Tour, Danthai endured a dip in form last month, missing four straight cuts on the region’s premier Tour.
The young Thai, however, regained his confidence after putting himself back in form with a tied-13th result at the Asian Tour season-ending event in Indonesia last week.
“I’m really excited to defend my title. My game hasn’t been that good earlier but finishing tied-13th in Indonesia last week has given me a lot of confidence,” said Danthai, a one-time Asian Tour winner in 2015.
Danthai claimed his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) title 12 months ago after he defeated countryman Jazz Janewattananond on the fourth play-off hole in the event, which will offer an increased prize purse of ฿4 million (approximately US$120,000) this year.
“It felt really good to have won on the fourth play-off hole last year. I still remember it clearly. It was special as I ended the season with a win. I hope to do the same again this time. Hopefully I can carry on my good form into this week,” Danthai added.
Despite sitting just one rung below the cut-off mark for the Asian Tour cards on offer in sixth place on the money list, Thailand’s Panuwat Muenlek prefers to keep his expectations low in his campaign this week.
“I had a good week of rest before coming here so I am feeling really refreshed. It feels pretty different this week with the cold weather. I think scoring will not be easy if the wind stays like this,” said Panuwat, who claimed his fourth ADT title in Malaysia last month.
“I have no strategy for this week,” laughed Panuwat. “I just want to play my game and not think too much about other things.” The 32-year-old Panuwat had agonisingly missed out on his 2017 Asian Tour card by one rung last year.
South African Mathiam Keyser, placed seventh on the Merit rankings thanks to one win and four top-10s, said: “It’s all or nothing. I am just going to have fun and see how it goes.”
The 30-year-old Keyser had sensationally claimed two consecutive wins on the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) Golf Tour before completing a hat-trick by securing his second ADT title in Labuan, Malaysia in September.
“I have always liked this golf course although I didn’t play well here before. You never thought it will be cold in Thailand. This is probably my first time experiencing this cold in Thailand. It’s always been windy here though.
“I did some good work in Dubai, working with my coach and looking forward to this week. I had a slow start to the season but I have been playing well for the last couple of months. I hope to keep it going,” added the Dubai-based Keyser.
The popular event, hosted by Thai legend Boonchu Ruangkit, is celebrating its four edition on the ADT this week. With the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship being the final event of the 2017 ADT season, players will have everything to play for as they battle for the ADT Order of Merit crown as well as the five Asian Tour cards on offer for the 2018 season.
The leading five players on the final ADT Order of Merit at the end of the week will earn playing rights on the region’s premier Tour for 2018.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.
About Asian Development Tour
The Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia. Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour will ultimately create a new playing platform for emerging stars from across Asia and around the world. Through the Asian Tour Qualifying School, players will qualify for the Asian Development Tour and enjoy the opportunity to hone their games and talent through a secondary circuit in Asia. Designed in the same structure as the Web.com Tour in America and European Challenge Tour, the Asian Development Tour is a stepping stone to the Asian Tour and the exciting world of international golf. The Asian Development Tour has been structured to ensure the best opportunities for its members. The leading five players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season, ensuring a proper career pathway for aspiring professionals. All ADT events receive Official World Golf Ranking points.