Wed, Nov 22, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Thongchai ecstatic after getting called up for Royal Trophy

AFP , BANGKOK

Thailand's golfing hero Thongchai Jaidee is among the three latest players called up by Asian captain Joe Ozaki for the Royal Trophy golf tournament against the European team that will be led by Seve Ballesteros in January.

Two of Japan's top players, Toru Taniguchi and Tetsuji Hiratsuka, have also been named to the Asian team that will challenge the European team at the Amata Spring Country Club in Bangkok.

Thongchai, who finished with a share of third place over the weekend at the Hong Kong Open, teamed up last year with fellow Thai golfer Thaworn Wiratchant to secure Asia's first point in the inaugural Royal Trophy.

Narrow win

Europe narrowly beat Asia 9-7 in the inaugural event last year.

"I feel truly privileged to be part of the Asian team for the Royal Trophy. I will be representing the people of Asia. This is a tremendous honor," Thongchai said.

"In the first edition of the Royal Trophy we played very well. The Europeans won, but it was very close," he said.

Both Taniguchi and Hiratsuka are newcomers to the Royal Trophy. They are both winners on the Japan Tour this year.

Beating tiger

The Korean duo of Yang Yong-eun, hot from his win over Tiger Woods in Shanghai, and S.K. Ho have already been selected for the Asian team.

The European side is packed with Ryder Cup players including Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley, Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson.

The event will consist of three formats -- foursomes (alternate shot) on the opening day, followed by four-ball on day two and singles on the last day.

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