July 19, 2017: Thai veteran Prayad Marksaeng hopes to produce his best outing at The Open in what might be his swansong in the year’s third Major tournament.
The 51-year-old is determined to make the cut at The Open for the first time in six appearances after struggling in the tricky weather conditions in the past.
“I think this will be my last The Open so I hope to make this my best memory,” said Prayad, a 10-time Asian Tour winner. “I’m getting older so I don’t think I have a chance to qualify for this tournament again.”
“During my practice rounds, the weather was perfect so if I have good weather during my round, I need to take advantage of it. It is normal when you play at The Open because every year the weather is bad,” he said.
Prayad played at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and even though the layout has not changed, he remembers how difficult it was to negotiate the course in the blustery conditions.
“I played here before but that time, I was still a young boy!” he laughed. “The key is your tee shot. If you miss your shot, you will get into trouble. It will be tougher when the wind starts to blow.”
“I played with Thongchai (Jaidee) in the practice round and he advised me to use more of my driver because I hit it straight. Obviously there are certain holes where I need to use a long iron so I have to plan my game,” added Prayad.
The fearless Phachara Khongwatmai, who is 33 years younger than Prayad, believes his debut appearance at The Open last season has helped him in his preparations this year.
“I know the weather better now. I experienced the bad weather last year so I know what to expect. Thongchai and Prayad have been very helpful. They gave me suggestions on how to play certain holes so I feel more comfortable,” said the Thai, nicknamed ‘Diamond’.
Phachara is not feeling any nerves despite being in the elite field and hopes to soak in the experience and memories of walking and playing alongside the stars of the game.
“I have no expectations this week. I’m just very happy to be here and I want to enjoy every moment of it. It is not every time you get to play in a Major tournament so I’m very grateful to be here,” said Phachara.