Rising star Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand will headline the US$300,000 Sarawak Championship when the event returns to the Asian Tour for its second straight edition from August 15 to 18.
Jazz, who leads the Order of Merit with his current haul of US$738,093, came in joint runner-up last year after firing a birdie and an eagle in his closing three holes for a solid eight-under-par 64 to finish one shot shy of winner John Catlin of the United States.
Having already bagged two Asian Tour titles this season, the 23-year-old Thai is looking to ride on his soaring confidence as he challenges for the title again at the Arnold Palmer-designed Damai Golf and Country Club located in Kuching, the capital of Sarawak.
“I remember Sarawak being a very nice place. There’s a beautiful beach there and I enjoyed playing that course last year. I had great fun competing for the title with my friends that week too and although I didn’t win the tournament, I was happy that I finished strong to give myself a chance,” Jazz said.
Jazz marked the start of his epic rise when he completed an amazing career turnaround with his breakthrough title in Bangladesh two years ago. That win was especially sweet for the Thai as it came shortly after losing his Tour card for the first time in his career. Jazz would later go on to claim his second title on home soil in 2018.
Jazz continued his remarkable rise by breaking into the world’s top-100 after winning his third Asian Tour title at the season-opening SMBC Singapore Open in January. He would notch three other top-10 results before securing his fourth victory at the Kolon Korea Open last month.
RIGHT: Janewattananond leads the Asian Tour Order of Merit. PHOTO: Francois Nel/Getty Images.
The fast-emerging Asian Tour star rose to a career-high 52nd place on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) following his win in Korea but slipped to his current 53rd position after missing the halfway cut in his second attempt at The Open a fortnight ago.
Earlier in May, Jazz also served notice of his immense talent when he came in tied-14th in what was his debut appearance at the US PGA Championship. It was the best-ever result by a Thai player in that major tournament.
“I am currently back in Hua Hin, enjoying a few weeks off with my friends and family before heading to Sarawak. The Sarawak Championship will be the start of another busy stretch for me. Hopefully I can kick-start that stretch with a good result in Sarawak,” Jazz added.
Jazz, arguably the hottest player on the Asian Tour this season, is currently in the running to automatically qualify for the International Team for the Presidents Cup. He is also chasing to lift the Merit crowns on both the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour at the end of the season.
Supported by the Sarawak State government, the Sarawak Championship will see a total of 150 players from 22 countries vying for top honours at the full-field Asian Tour event, which will be the Tour’s second stop in Malaysia this season.
Other notable players in the talented field are Micah Lauren Shin of the United States, India’s Khalin Joshi, Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei, as well as Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana and Tirawat Kaewsiribandit.