Kuala Lumpur, Nov 4: Thai veteran Prayad Marksaeng will replace Thaworn Wiratchant at the World Cup of Golf at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club later this month.
Prayad, who won the Queen’s Cup on home soil in June for his seventh Asian Tour victory, will feature in his fourth World Cup appearance and will join Order of Merit leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat in representing his nation.
“I’m looking forward to the World Cup of Golf and it’ll be my fourth time competing in the event. I teamed up with Thongchai Jaidee previously when the format was different. It’ll be good to represent Thailand in this prestigious event,” said the 47-year-old.
The event will feature an individual competition with players shooting for a prize purse of $7 million from Nov 21-24 while nations which have two qualified players in the field will be eligible for the team competition which is offering $1 million.
Prayad’s best outing in the World Cup was a tied seventh at the 2008 edition in China and the World No.177 is aiming to make an impression at Royal Melbourne.
“I have not played at Royal Melbourne before and I’m looking forward to playing well there. It will be interesting to play in this new format and I hope to find my best form and combine my scores with Kiradech for the team competition,” said Prayad.
“Kiradech is playing extremely well right now and he is always capable of producing a good result. His game is perfect and his score will be good for the team. I also need to play well to use our score for the team. Winning or finishing in the top-3 will not be easy but I will try my best.”
With Kiradech, who has virtually sealed the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit crown with over $1.1 million earnings this season, in top form, Prayad said that a victory will certainly make it a magical year for Thai and Asian golf.
“Surely it would be great if we can win the team event for Thailand. As for the individual competition, I can only play my best. There are many top players from around the world there, so the field will be very strong,” said Prayad.
With injuries a thing of the past, Prayad is hoping that all parts of his game will be in sync when he gets to Royal Melbourne.
“I’m physically fit. The only thing is my putting game which I am working on, especially the short putts. I still can’t get the right combination going. Sometimes my feel is good but ball does not want to get into the hole quick enough,” he said.
Other Asians who have qualified for the World Cup of Golf through rankings are India’s Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar, China’s Wu Ashun and Liang Wen-chong, Korea’s K.J. Choi and Bae Sang-moon, Filipinos Angelo Que and Antonio Lascuna, Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa and Hideto Tanihara and Bangladeshi Siddikur.