Greater Noida, March 8 (IANS) A host of leading players from Thailand will attempt to create history by becoming the first from the country to win the Avantha Masters when the 1.8 million euro showpiece tees off at the Jaypee Greens Golf Course here next week.
Led by Thongchai Jaidee, a three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, the Thai contingent will also comprise of 12 other top stars from the kingdom, who have amassed a total of 31 victories on the region's premier Tour. Thailand will have the biggest representation after hosts India.
Notable names heading to Jaypee Greens include five-time Asian Tour winner Boonchu Ruangkit, Chinnarat Phadungsil, Thitiphun Chuayprakong, Prom Meesawat, Chapchai Nirat, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and current Order of Merit leader Chawalit Plaphol.
Jaidee, who has enjoyed a flying start to his 2013 campaign with three successive top-10s in South Africa and the Middle East, will be looking for his second win in India as his last win in the subcontinent came in the 2001 Indian Open.
"I'm looking forward to going back to India to compete at the Avantha Masters. I've been playing well since the start of the year and hoping my good form will translate into a win for me," said Jaidee, ranked 60th in the world.
Boonchu is one of Asia's greatest ever players. At 56, the Thai veteran proved he still has what it takes to stay in the upper echelons of the game when he finished 61st on the Order of Merit last season to earn his full playing rights for 2013.
"I've not played in the Avantha Masters previously so I'm looking forward to competing next week. It is also an Asian Tour event and I want to try to maintain my ranking on the Asian Tour," said Boonchu.
The Asian Tour, which is celebrating its 10th season, will feature other top contenders including Singapore's Mardan Mamat, a three-time Tour winner, Sweden's Rikard Karlberg, Australia's Scott Hend and Korean-American David Lipsky.
India's top stars led by two-time Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Jeev Milkha Singh and multiple winners S.S.P. Chowrasia, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri will also headline the tournament.