In-form Rattanon set sights on PGM Johor Masters

Johor Bahru: Thai rising star Rattanon Wannasrichan hopes his recent surge of form will guide him to a first professional victory at the PGM Johor Masters starting Wednesday.

The 16-year-old will be among a cast of highly rated players at the Asian Development Tour (ADT) event which includes countryman Varut Chomchalam, Carl Santos Ocampo of the Philippines and amateur golfer Low Khai Jei of Malaysia.

Local star S. Siva Chandhran, winner of the 2010 ADT Order of Merit, will also feature in the RM180,000 (approximately US$60,000) event staged at the Johor Country Club.

After missing the top-40 and ties at the Asian Tour Qualifying School earlier this year, Rattanon made full use of his limited playing opportunities where he made two out of three cuts on the region’s established Tour.

He was in contention after the first round of the HANDA FALDO Cambodian Classic before settling for tied 33rd place and claimed his best finish of the season so far at the Panasonic Open India last week where he carded a tied 19th result.

He said playing regular practice rounds with proven Asian Tour winners Chinnarat Phadungsil and Prom Meesawat has prepared him from the play-for-pay ranks as he takes aim at winning the PGM Johor Masters, the second ADT event this year.

“I want to try to become the youngest Asian Tour winner. Chinnarat (Phadungsil) won when he was 17 years and five days old, so I’ve got less than a year to try to do it,” said Rattanon, who will use the ADT platform to enhance his golf game.

“I was very nervous at the Q-school but I’ve been practising a lot with Chinnarat and Prom and they have given me good advice. Chinnarat has taught me how to deal with pressure and to play it one shot at a time while Prom has always stressed on the importance of having a good game plan,” he added.

Rattanon knows an early win on the ADT season will set him up nicely for a chance at finishing in the top-three of the Order of Merit where the top trio at the end of the season will earn Asian Tour cards for 2013.

The burgeoning ADT is staged in its third year and will host no more than 12 events this year.