Thailand Championship to return in December

The third edition of the Thailand Golf Championship will be held at the Amata Spring Country Club from December 12-15 and offer a total prize fund of US$1 million.

Charl Schwartzel, Thailand Golf Championship

The Asian Tour's full-field tournament has grown rapidly since its inaugural year in 2011, attracting many of golf's leading names such as Lee Westwood, Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, , Charl Schwartzel, Darren Clarke, John Daly, Ryo Ishikawa, Sergio Garcia, Thongchai Jaidee and Nicolas Colsaerts.

Rated as one of the finest championship courses in Asia, Amata Spring has contributed immensely towards the development of professional golf in Thailand and Asia where it has also hosted the Open Championship - International Final Qualifying - Asia, Royal Trophy and World Salute King Bhumibol's Skins Games which featured world number one Tiger Woods.

Westwood won the inaugural Thailand Golf Championship in majestic style in 2011 when he stormed to a comfortable seven-shot victory after opening his campaign with a stunning 12-under-par 60, which matched the Asian Tour's 18-hole record.

"It was one of the best rounds I've ever played," recalled Westwood. "I was just on a roll. I hit a lot of fairways and my putting was good.

"I love Amata Spring as its layout suits my style of play and the greens are fast and firm," added the Englishman of Amata Spring which has been voted the Best Course on the Asian Tour by the players in 2011 and 2012.

Last December, 2011 Masters Tournament champion Schwartzel romped to a commanding 11-shot victory at the Thailand Golf Championship to end a frustrating 20-month title drought.

The 28-year-old South African completed an imperious start-to-finish victory with a final round 65, which made up for his runner-up finish behind Westwood in 2011. Schwartzel's winning total of 25-under-par 263 total saw him pick up his first win on the Asian Tour.

"The golf course is always in good shape and it is a good test," said Schwartzel.

Japanese star Ishikawa had only good words for the impressive Amata Spring course. "I enjoyed playing at Amata Spring and I am always impressed with its world-class layout," he said.

The Thailand Golf Championship, which aims to develop professional golf within the region and also promote Thailand as a tourism destination, also saw the emergence of local talent Thitiphun Chuayprakong who impressed many during a spell-binding run where he finished tied second with Watson last year.

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