Reigning Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit champion Miguel Carballo will launch his bid for more Asian success when he makes his debut appearance at the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation 2019 which starts on Thursday.
The 39-year-old Carballo became the first Argentinean to top the ADT money list following a stellar rookie season which saw him cap one victory and eight top-10s. The former PGA Tour player also stamped his mark by capping two top-five results on the premier Asian Tour last year.
Having enjoyed a well-deserved break back home in Bahia Blanca, the rejuvenated Carballo is ready to put up a good showing when he tees off for the popular event hosted by Thai star Thongchai Jaidee at the 13th Military Circle Golf Course in Lopburi from February 14 to 17.
Carballo will feature in the elite 156-man field gathered at the fourth edition of the ฿4million (approximately US$123,000) event, which is jointly-sanctioned by the ADT and the All Thailand Golf Tour.
“I had a great off-season where I took a pretty long break and didn’t play golf for close to 25 days. After a busy season travelling, I felt like I really needed it. I went back home to Bahia Blanca to visit my father and my brother and took a short beach vacation with my family,” said Carballo.
“Playing in Thongchai’s event will be a great way to start the year because of how competitive the field is. I have been practicing in Thailand the past couple of days and I really want to start the year right at this tournament,” he added.
Having gained confidence and valuable playing experiences from playing on the ADT for the past one year, Carballo has set bigger goals for himself this season.
“My plan for this year is really just to try and play as many tournaments as I can and see if I can bring my family over to Asia. The ultimate aim is to win on the Asian Tour and keep my card as soon as possible so that I focus on playing well without the added pressure,” Carballo said.
Former Order of Merit winner Pannakorn Uthaipas will lead the local charge alongside in-form Itthipat Buranatanyarat, who leads the current rankings following his recent victory on home soil, as well as Asian Tour champions Natipong Srithong, Rattanon Wannasrichan and Chapchai Nirat, who won the event in 2016.
Thongchai, who holds an unprecedented three Asian Tour Order of Merit crowns, has hosted the tournament on the ADT since 2015, with Kiradech Aphibarnrat, highest-ranked Thai in the world, winning the inaugural edition and the last edition in 2017.
With the venue moved to his home course for the first time, the 49-year-old Thongchai hopes to draw attention to his foundation that was formed in 2009 to give access to the game of golf to the underprivileged in his hometown of Lopburi.
The leading seven players on the final ADT Order of Merit will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2020 season.
All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive a minimum of six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.