Evergreen Prayad going strong at 51

Thai veteran star Prayad Marksaeng intends to keep competing at the highest level after securing his 10th Asian Tour victory just a week shy of his 51st birthday.

Prayad Marksaeng. / Picture by Paul Lakatos, Lagardère Sports.

Twenty-one years after lifting his maiden victory in Asia, the smooth swinging and stocky Thai produced a sparkling one-shot victory at the season-opening SMBC Singapore Open at the Sentosa Golf Club as he became the player with the third-most number of victories at 10 wins on the Asian Tour.

“I look after myself very well. I eat well, sleep well and stay happy. I will keep playing golf because I was born to be a golfer,” said Prayad, whose winner’s cheque of US$180,000 pushed him to the top spot of the Order of Merit. He turns 51 on January 30.

He revealed previously that regular visits to the hot springs in Japan, where he also competes regularly on both the main and senior tours, have helped keep his body in shape along with a strict stretching regime.

“I still feel like a young player. I practiced a lot before coming here. I changed my whole set of irons and putter. I started changing my equipment last year actually but haven’t quite got the form. I am glad to gain some good form this week,” said Prayad, who jumped into 150th position on the latest Official World Golf Ranking.

“My swing is quite natural and I don’t get injured easily. Physically, I feel good, I feel fit. This is my 10th win on the Asian Tour. I am very happy because I feel like I have done my country proud,” added the Thai, who also earned a spot in The Open at Royal Birkdale in July.

While Prayad emerged as the second oldest man to win on the Asian Tour, the future for the game in Thailand and Asia looks very much secured with the continued rise of his young countryman Phachara Khongwatmai, who were amongst those who finished tied second at Sentosa, home of the Asian Tour.

Only 17, Phachara enjoyed four top-10s last season on the Asian Tour to earn his full card this year and many are predicting that it will only be a matter of time before he joins the winner’s circle.

“This is my first year playing on the Asian Tour with a full card. Playing in my first event of the year, I am extremely pleased with my top-five result. I am happy with how I finished the round,” said the teenager, whose name means “diamond” in Thai.

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