Andrew McArthur’s gamble in making a near 6,000-mile journey from Glasgow to Hua Hin has paid off after he became the last man to get into the True Thailand Classic starting today.
The event at Black Mountain Golf Club is only the 36-year-old’s third outing since securing his European Tour card through his efforts last season on the Challenge Tour. He missed the cut in the Qatar Masters before finishing joint 29th behind runaway winner Charl Schwartzel in the Tshwane Open.
“I’m looking forward to this event,” said McArthur after joining Marc Warren, Scott Jamieson, Craig Lee and Simon Yates in the field for an event that is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and Asian Tour.
“It was a tricky decision to travel so far as second reserve, but it’s paid off now. All I was hoping for was a chance to play and I’ve got it, so we’ll see how it goes.”
The line-up is headed by home favourites Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, the latter looking for his first victory since landing the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play title at Murcar Links last summer. “It’s great to be back to play in your home country and to play in front of your fans, family and especially my wife who will come this week,” said Aphibarnrat, who finished two shots behind the winner, Australian Andrew Dodt, in this event last year.
“I think she’ll come on Sunday as she knows about the prize money and she’ll come to collect the money!”
He added: “It’s an honour to come back to Black Mountain as I’ve played so well on this course.
“I’ve not started the season well like the last couple of years. I played the first five weeks, but didn’t play on form. But I’ve worked hard last week and this week with my coach and we’re very near to getting back into form for this week.”
World No 37 Jaidee is the highest-ranked player in the field. He said: “The course condition is fantastic, the greens are quicker than last year. Whoever putts well will win the tournament.
“From tee to green, there’s no rough. You have to putt well. It’s hard to putt as the slopes can be killing. It’s easy to get three or four putts if you’re on the wrong side of the pin.”
Elsewhere, Sally Watson and Pamela Pretswell are representing Scotland in the team segment of the World Ladies Championship starting today at Mission Hills in China.
The tournament is primarily a 72-hole individual stroke-play event, but also features a team event, which is based on the combined scores of 15 pairs from different countries. Pretswell, who finished sixth in the individual competition last year, said: “I was looking forward to this tournament anyway, as I always love playing in China, but representing Scotland with Sally obviously makes the event even more exciting and we will do our best to raise the Saltire on the Sunday evening.”
Watson added: “I really enjoyed the experience of playing in last year’s World Ladies Championship and I am very excited to be representing Scotland again. I am also thrilled to have Pamela as my team-mate, she is a great player and I think we will bring a strong team to this year’s tournament.
“I am sure we will both be hoping to make our country proud by putting in a strong performance and it would be amazing for us to add a team win to our résumés.”
Joining Pretswell and Watson in the hunt for the individual title are Carly Booth and Kylie Walker, while Grantown-on-Spey’s Hannah McCook is Scotland’s representative in an amateur event that is also incorporated within the tournament.
“It’s going to be an amazing experience as an amateur,” said McCook, who finished second in the Argentine Women’s Amateur Open in December.
“It’s a limited field for professionals, so to receive an invitation as an amateur is brilliant.”