Although the PGA and European Tours have been wound up for the Christmas break there is still an incredibly high class event for us to enjoy this week on the Asian Tour. The Thailand Golf Championship is the Asian Tour’s number one event and it attracts quality players from all over the world. The likes of Lee Westwood – who has won this event twice – Sergio Garcia and Bubba Watson will all be competing this year, looking for their share of the $1million purse.
The event is played at the incredible Amata Spring Country Club. There are few better clubs in Asia in terms of the facilities for both players and fans and the course is truly breathtaking. It measures a long 7,488 yards and plays as a par 72. The front nine is particularly long but the back nine is arguably the better half of the course as it contains perhaps the best closing hole in Asia and the signature par three 17th which has an island green which the players need to get on a boat to reach.
As this is a long and tough test it is important to hit it a long way off the tee whilst keeping the ball on the fairways and out of trouble. Good hands around the green are also important and it is no surprise that the previous winners of this tournament have all been high class golfers.
We should be expecting a similarly top quality winner this week and few players look better placed to win than Sergio Garcia. He is one of the three previous winners of the Thailand Golf Championship and comes into the weekend on the back of his first win in two years out in Vietnam. Garcia is one of the best ball strikers in the game but he is also a very good driver of the ball which will stand him in good stead for the Amata test. At 11/2 with Coral, Garcia looks a great price to win back to back tournaments.
No Asian player has ever won this event but Kiradech Aphibarnrat could be the man to change that. The 26-year-old was born in Bangkok and so will have a huge amount of support from the galleries. Aphibarnrat may not be the most athletic player in the world (he can often be seen smoking as he walks round the course) but he manages to make his handsy swing work well for him. He’s a huge hitter and a multiple winner so the 20/1 that Bet365 are offering looks a good price.
Lee Westwood may be going through a very tough time at the moment but there are few courses better suited to getting him back to his best. Westwood is very much a course specialist and he’ll know that he needs a win this week to keep himself in the world’s top 50. The Englishman played well last week at the Nedbank before fading badly but it’s tough to write off his chances at a course he loves so bet on him each-way at odds of 28/1 with Bet365. He’s won here twice before and can defend his title to claim a hat-trick.