Champions to grace Venetian Macau Open

Asian Tour No. 1 Marcus Fraser, three-time Order of Merit winner Thongchai Jaidee and all-time tournament winner Thaworn Wiratchant, will headline the Venetian Macau Open.

Golf News: Thaworn Wiratchant

Seven players in the current top-10 of the Order of Merit - Indian trio Anirban Lahiri, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Digvijay Singh, Bangladeshi Siddikur, Prom Meesawat of Thailand and American David Lipsky - will also tee up in the popular US$750,000 Asian Tour tournament at the challenging Macau Golf and Country Club from October 11-14.

Welshman Ian Woosnam, a former Masters Tournament winner, will be amongst the star-studded cast to converge in Macau where his presence will extend a long-standing tradition of the Macau Open featuring Major champions.

The strong turnout of Tour stars will ensure the Venetian Macau Open, which was inaugurated in 1998, will boast one of its strongest ever fields in its history.

Asian Tour Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han said: "It is fantastic to see such a powerful line-up of players who have committed to the Venetian Macau Open. The event will be loaded with champions who have won close to a combined 200 tournaments and I am sure the quality of the field will deliver a great week of golf to golf fans and television viewers."

Fraser will be aiming to extend his lead in the rankings as he chases his dream of becoming the first Australian to win the prestigious Asian Tour's Order of Merit. Three top-five finishes in India, Korea and Switzerland have propelled him into the driver's seat and a win in Macau will certainly put him closer to the Merit crown.

After suffering a disc prolapsed in his neck in early 2011 which sidelined him for several months, the Australian has bounced back with a vengeance. "I was a fairly negative sort of player but once you have an injury like that where you can't play the game, then you start to realise how much you miss and enjoy it. It was a big wake up call for me and I'm lucky to be still playing the game. It was pretty scary but it is good now and hopefully it will improve," said Fraser, who has one win on the Asian Tour.

All eyes will be on the 45-year-old Thaworn, who became the player with the most wins in Asia following his 14th victory at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters in Malaysia last month. Being a former winner of the Macau Open when he won in 2009, the Thai veteran is strongly tipped to launch a bid for another title.

Countryman Thongchai, who has 13 wins on the Asian Tour, will also be hoping to extend his winning footprint across Asia. He has won previously in Korea, Malaysia, India, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and of course in Thailand and Macau is naturally his next target.

"I have not played in the Macau Open for a very long time, so I'm really excited to be heading back there," said Thongchai, who finished tied fourth in his last visit to Macau in 2001.

Apart from Thaworn, the stellar field at the Venetian Macau Open will also include former champions Australian David Gleeson (2008), Chinese Taipei's Lu Wen-teh (2007) and American Jason Knutzon (2004).

Other prominent Tour winners who will compete include big-hitting Australian Scott Hend, Thailand's Chapchai Nirat, who holds the world record for the lowest 72-hole aggregate, India's S.S.P. Chowrasia and two-time Macau Open champion Zhang Lian-wei of China.

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