Jazz all grooved up for Open debut in July

Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond is all set for new challenges when he makes his debut Open appearance at Carnoustie in July.

The 22-year-old Jazz, who earned the coveted berth by finishing tied-fourth at The Open Qualifying Series at the SMBC Singapore Open in January, is excited to make his first Major appearance at the venue where he watched his idol Tiger Woods in action in 2007.

“My father brought me to watch Tiger at Carnoustie when I was around 10 years old so earning my Major debut to play at the same venue this year makes me feel really special. It has been a long journey since.

“I’m just trying to gather as many information as I can before I head there. It’s going to be a different kind of golf tournament for sure. I have never played there before so I need to expect the unexpected and go there with an open mind and see what I can do,” said Jazz.

Jazz reckons that playing in the unfamiliar conditions will be his biggest test when he tees off in the year’s third Major championship from July 19 to 22.

“I’ve been asking around to find out how it is like to play on a links course. I played with Thongchai (Jaidee) and Kiradech (Aphibarnrat) during a practice round at the Volvo China Open last month and they gave me some good advices on what I should be prepared for,” he added.

Jazz turned professional at the end of 2010. Earlier that year, he played his way into the history books of the Asian Tour by becoming the youngest ever player, at the age of 14 years and 71 days, to make the halfway cut at the Asian Tour International.

He failed to retain his Asian Tour card for the first time at the end of 2016 but a breakthrough win at the 2017 Bangladesh Open saw him turned his career around and eventually finished the season in a career-high ninth place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

“It’s difficult to find something that’s similar to the links course here. The weather is different and the ground is firmer. Everything is going to be different. Sometimes, when a big event comes, you try and do something different. But it doesn’t necessarily work all the time.

“I just want to give it my best. I will prepare to my best capability and see what happens. My parents will be heading over to Carnoustie with me so I am looking forward to it. Playing in a Major tournament is every professional golfer’s dream. I can’t wait to be there,” Jazz said.

This July, Jazz will represent his country alongside Kiradech Aphibarnrat, world number 30, and Danthai Boonma, who also secured his Major debut after finishing tied-fourth at the season-opener in Singapore in January.

Reigning Order of Merit champion Gavin Green of Malaysia and India’s Shubhankar Sharma, who leads the current Habitat for Humanity Standings, will also feature at The Open, golf’s oldest Major championship.

Other players expected to spearhead the Asian Tour challenge at The Open include 2015 Order of Merit champion Anirban Lahiri of India, South African Shaun Norris, Japan’s Yuta Ikeda and Mashiro Kawamura.

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