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Thaworn looks to master Indonesia PGA Championship

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Masters-bound Thaworn Wiratchant says winning next week’s Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia PGA Championship on OneAsia would be the perfect send off to Augusta. The veteran Thai received an invitation to the Masters in early April on the back of a glorious 2012 season that saw him take the number one spot in Asia for the second time after winning four international titles to bring his career tally to 20.

“I am looking forward to playing the tournament and a victory would be great for my confidence just ahead of the Masters,” said Thaworn, a two-time winner of the Indonesia Open including the 2011 title on OneAsia. “I have won two tournaments in Indonesia and hopefully I can make it three.”

Before heading to the United States, Thaworn will be one of the headline acts in the Indonesia PGA Championship, which is making a welcome return to the OneAsia schedule after a one-year absence.

Indian star Jeev Milkha Singh, a four-time winner on the European Tour, former OneAsia money list winner Liang Wenchong of China, Kim Kyung-tae, the first Korean to win the Japan Tour Order of Merit, Japanese legend Shingo Katayama, defending champion Andre Stolz of Australia and local hope Rory Hie, runner up two years ago, feature in the impressive line-up at Emeralda Golf Club from March 28-31.

England’s Simon Dyson, who won the Indonesia Open at Emeralda in 2006, and two-time PGA Tour winner Daniel Chopra will also challenge for honours in the tournament which will be joint sanctioned by the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO) with prize money counting on both money lists.

Although neither of Thaworn’s victories in Indonesia have come at Emeralda Golf Club, he likes the course.

“I have a good feeling playing at Emeralda. It is a difficult course, and that is good for me -- I play well on courses that are set up hard,” said the 46 year old, who recorded a top-20 finish in a OneAsia event at Emeralda last year.

A free spirit and self-confessed golfaholic, Thaworn has spread his wings across the whole spectrum of the sport. He placed in the top-50 on OneAsia from three starts last year and triumphed in the Luang Prabang Lao Open, his second title on the ASEAN PGA Tour.

Thaworn equalled the course record of 63 at Thana City Golf & Sports Club on Sunday to claim joint 12th spot in the Thailand Open, the season-opening event on OneAsia.

“I just want to play golf and win tournaments,” he said. “I am a professional golfer and play wherever  I can. I see myself as an ambassador for Thai golf. When I win, the trophy is for me, the reputation is for Thailand.”

Thaworn flew the flag high at the WGC - Cadillac Championship at Doral’s famed TPC Blue Monster two weeks ago with opening back-to-back 69s showing that he can score well on the toughest of courses in the toughest of company.

“I am getting old but I am still in good condition,” he commented. “With the equipment that it is available these days, I am probably hitting the ball as far as I did 10 years ago.

“It was a great start for me at Doral and I was proud to hold my own in such an elite field. The wind got up on the last two days and I was hitting longer irons into greens that were harder than at the start of the week,” said Thaworn, who closed with a pair of 77s