2005: Jaidee’s formula: ‘I like this course’

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Thongchai Jaidee made history on several different fronts in the Malaysian Open. But then again, the 34-year-old former paratrooper is used to setting new standards in Kuala Lumpur.

In 2004 at Suajana Golf and Country Club, Jaidee became the first Thai player to win on the PGA European Tour when he took the Malaysian Open by two strokes over Brad Kennedy. This year, he became one of three players to successfully defend the Malaysian Open title, and also was the first wire-to-wire winner on the Euro Tour’s 2005 schedule.

A touch of magic? Jaidee thinks the explanation is a bit less mystical. “I like this course,” he said Feb. 20.

“This is better than last year, but I don’t think it’s any superstition or anything,” Jaidee said. “I just told myself to play my own game. My irons worked nicely and I felt in control.”

Jaidee controlled the tournament from start to finish, wrapping up his three-stroke victory with a 70 Sunday to finish at 21-under 267. He led by six going into the final round.

Jaidee’s victory was worth 156,753 euros (approximately $204,800) and lifted him to fifth on the European Tour Order of Merit. It was a far cry from his humble beginnings, when he learned the game as a 13-year-old sharing one club made up of a 3-iron head stuck on a bamboo stick.

The event was co-sanctioned by the European and Asian tours. Jaidee is the No. 1-ranked player on the Asian Tour, where he has seven career victories.

Jaidee was the first player to successfully defend a stroke-play title on the European Tour since Ernie Els won his third consecutive Heineken Classic in February 2004.

“I’m feeling very good right now,” Jaidee said. “I was looking for a good week after missing the cut in Singapore last month.

“This is why you play: To win against top players.”

– Staff and wire report

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