Thongchai moves to 59th, qualifies for US Open

Kuala Lumpur, May 7 (IANS) Thai star Thongchai Jaidee’s fourth place finish at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters golf over the weekend has propelled him to 59th position on the latest Official World Golf Ranking which puts him in line for a third appearance at the next month’s US Open.

The evergreen Thai, a record three-time Asian Tour No.1, contended at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club throughout the week before settling for his sixth top-10 of the season.

The top-60 players in the world as of May 27 and June 10 will qualify for the year’s second Major at the Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania from June 13 to 16, 2013.

The 43-year-old Thongchai made his Major debut at the U.S. Open in 2001 where he finished tied 74th. It was also the same season when he became the Asian No.1 for the first time in his career. Thongchai subsequently qualified for the 2010 edition, finishing equal 47th but has not featured in the US Open since.

Sunday’s outing was Thongchai’s third consecutive top-10 which has also pushed him to become the highest ranked Asian in the world. Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger jumped 13 rungs to 70th after winning the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters.

In the latest rankings, a total of 14 Asian Tour members are featured in the world’s top-200.

Thai ace Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who is leading the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, is ranked 85th followed by Korea’s K.J. Choi who is three rungs below.

Reigning Asian Tour No.1 Thaworn Wiratchant slipped three places to 92nd while Gaganjeet Bhullar of India, who holds four Asian Tour titles, is 96th in the world.

The other Asian Tour members in the world’s top-200 are Vijay Singh of Fiji (114th), Jeev Milkha Singh of India (119th), Filipino Juvic Pagunsan (147th), Korean Kim Hyung-sung (150th), Anirban Lahiri of India (172nd), Y.E. Yang of Korea (173rd), China’s Liang Wen-chong (175th), Indian Shiv Kapur (181st) and Australia’s Scott Hend (186th).

The Official World Golf Ranking will also be used to determine the field when golf makes a return into the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

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