Sweden’s hope at inaugural Thailand Classic golf tournament

Participating in the imminent Thailand Classic, to be held at Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin February 12-15, is the Swedish golf pro Rikard Karlberg, two-time Asian Tour winner.

Karlberg hopes to land another high-profile victory when he returns to familiar ground, this Swedish-owned premium golf course where the 28-year-old has an impressive track record.

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He finished second behind Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng at the King’s Cup when it was last staged at the award-winning golf club in 2014.

With the goal of ending his five-year winless streak firmly etched in his mind, Karlberg knows he has a good chance of doing that at one of his favourite golf courses.

To achieve that, he needs to adopt a carefree attitude when the event gets underway.

“It’s really easy to try too hard when you have friends and family watching you but the key is to simply enjoy the game and not get too bothered even if you have hit some bad shots.

“Black Mountain is also one of my loyal sponsors and they have supported me greatly throughout my career. I want to win at least three tournaments this year and getting a win at Black Mountain would be simply fantastic!” said Karlberg.

Prayad, who denied Karlberg a grandstand finish at the Black Mountain Golf Club last year, is also bullish of his chances at the Thailand Classic which is the first tournament in the Kingdom to be co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour in eight years.

“I’ve got many happy memories at the Black Mountain Golf Club.  Right now, I’m feeling physically fit which is good as I’ve targeted a top-20 finish on the Order of Merit by the end of the season,” said the 49-year-old, who has eight wins on the region’s premier Tour and finished in 74th place on the money list last year.

Among the other top Asian Tour players vying for top honours at the Thailand Classic include reigning Order of Merit champion David Lipsky of the United States, India’s Anirban Lahiri, voted Players’ Player of the Year in 2014, Australia’s Scott Hend and Philippines’ Angelo Que.

Rikard Karlberg who also played in the CIMB Classic in Malaysia in 2014 at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country earned his 2010 Asian Tour card through qualifying school. He won the second Asian Tour event he played, the SAIL Open. Later in the year, he won his second Asian Tour title at the Hero Honda Indian Open.

Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn will also feature in the competition at the Black Mountain Golf Club.

More details about the Thailand Classic are available on www.golfthailandclassic.com.

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