x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Thongchai breaks $3m barrier

Thongchai Jaidee passed a regional milestone with his Indonesian Open triumph in Bali, making the Thai golfer first man to earn US$3 million (Dh11,019m) on the Asian Tour.

SINGAPORE // Thongchai Jaidee passed a regional milestone with his Indonesian Open triumph in Bali, the Thai's 11th victory making him the first man to earn US$3 million (Dh11,019m) on the Asian Tour. The 39-year-old former paratrooper fired a closing three-under 69 on Sunday to finish 12-under for the co-sanctioned tournament, two shots ahead of Sweden's Alexander Noren and the British duo Simon Dyson and Steve Webster.

The winner's cheque of $208,330 raised Thongchai's career haul to $3.13m, cementing his status as the all-time highest earner on the Asian Tour and moving him 17 places up the world rankings to number 71. "It's a great feeling," the twice Asia order of merit winner said after registering his third European Tour win. After a poor run of form following illness and injury, Thongchai's goal this season was to win a title in Asia and Europe as well as breaking into the world's top-50, which will lead to invitations for the majors.

"I've been trying to do that for a long time (get in the top-50) and I have not been able to make it but now I think I have a very good chance," he said. "I'll turn 40 this year (in November) but it's only a number. I'm still feeling strong and I'm confident I can still win regularly over the next few years. "It's all about keeping yourself fit which is very important. I'm feeling stronger now and I'm slowly building up my fitness to a good level again." *Reuters