BANGKOK, Thailand, 26 November 2014 —— In-form Japanese ace Hiroshi Iwata has promised to make up for the disappointment of missing out on victory at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai by winning the Thailand Golf Championship, which will be played from 11-14 December at Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi.
Iwata, who has risen to 63rd in the Official World Golf Ranking after finishing tied for third in China as well as claiming second place at last week’s Dunlop Phoenix Open in Miyazaki, is part of a strong Japanese contingent who will travel to Thailand for the Asian Tour’s US$1 million flagship event.
“I was only annoyed [after the WGC-HSBC Champions] and I promise revenge in Thailand,” said Iwata, who fired a final-round 72 to finish just one shot out of the play-off between Bubba Watson and Tim Clark, which Watson won on the first extra hole.
Iwata, who will be making his second appearance at the Thailand Golf Championship, will face stiff opposition if he’s to achieve his goal, however. Joining the 33-year-old in the field is defending champion Sergio Garcia, US Open winner Martin Kaymer, European Ryder Cup heroes Lee Westwood and Victor Dubuisson , four-time major champion Ernie Els as well as Watson, the man who pipped him in Shanghai.
Nevertheless, Iwata, who won his first Japan Golf Tour event at the Fujisankei Classic in September, has singled out the world ranking points available in Thailand as his motivation.
“The Thailand Golf Championship is a big event and an important step for me,” he said. “A strong performance will lift me higher [in the Ranking] to where I want to be – regularly challenging among the world’s best.”
Iwata’s compatriot Shingo Katayama has also confirmed his participation at Amata Spring. The flamboyant Katayama, who is instantly recognisable on the course by his distinctive cowboy hat, is a five-time Japan Golf Tour money list winner and garnered international acclaim when he finished fourth at the 2009 Masters Tournament.
Katayama, who is another running into form having notched four top-10s in his last eight outings, said he was looking forward to returning to Thailand and putting on a show.
“I’m really pleased to be returning to competing on the Asian Tour after a long absence,” said the 41-year-old, who played in the first two editions of the Thailand Golf Championship in 2011 and 2012. “I’m feeling confident about my game and I want to show the fans in Thailand a good performance.”
[Source : The THM & Good Media Creation]