In-form Jazz seeks memorable major debut at the Open

jazzYoung Thai Jazz Janewattananond hopes to cap a memorable return to Carnoustie by putting up a good showing in his debut appearance at The 147th Open which starts on Thursday.

When Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia in a play-off to win The Open at Carnoustie in 2007, a 10-year-old Jazz, who was in Scotland for The Junior Open then, caught the action live with his father from the grandstand seats.

11 years on, Jazz returned to Carnoustie for his first attempt at golf’s oldest Major championship. The 22-year-old Jazz had earned the coveted spot after finishing tied-fourth at the season-opening Singapore Open in January.

“It’s great to be back in Carnoustie. My dad brought me here to watch Tiger Woods play The Open in 2007. We were amongst the spectators here when Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia to win that year.

“My dad plays an important role in my career. He was the one who brought me into the game when I was young. It’s great to be back here with him and to have him watch me play in my first ever Major championship,” said Jazz, a two-time Asian Tour winner.

Jazz first played his way into the history books of the Asian Tour in 2010 when he became the youngest ever player to make the halfway cut at the 2010 Asian Tour International in Bangkok at the age of 14 years and 71 days.

Three weeks prior to his Major debut, Jazz clinched a sensational second victory at the Queen’s Cup on home soil where he triumphed by four shots after firing five straight birdies from the 10th for a closing 67.  

The talented Thai went on to claim a joint runner-up finish at the Sarawak Championship in Malaysia the following week, thanks to a superb final round of a 64.

“After Sarawak, I took a few days off before coming here to practise. The weather was still pretty warm the last few days but it is getting colder now. The golf course is looking good. It’s amazing to be able to play in such a big event. The course set-up is great.

“The greens are firm and fast. It’s going to play tough. It’s been very overwhelming for me so far, playing in the first Major in my career this week. There are grand stands everywhere. I’m nervous yet excited at the same time,” Jazz added.

Jazz’s breakthrough on the Asian Tour came at the 2017 Bangladesh Open. The victory was especially sweet for him as he finished outside the top-60 on the 2016 Order of Merit and missed the grade at the 2017 Qualifying School.

Jazz will represent Thailand in the year’s third Major championship alongside fellow debutant Danthai Boonma and 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who sits in 30th place on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) as the highest-ranked Thai player in the world.

Reigning Order of Merit champion Gavin Green of Malaysia will also feature in The 147th Open at Carnoustie alongside India’s Anirban Lahiri, England’s Matt Wallace, South African Shaun Norris and Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura, all winners on the Asian Tour.