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P.J. Murray 14th Dec 2011 - 15:15

Charl leads the charge

Thailand is welcoming a star studded field to the Amata Spring Country Club near Bangkok for the inaugural Thailand Golf Championship.

Lee Westwood, John Daly, Sergio Garcia are among a host of golf's top personalities vying to be the first to claim the title and a very lucrative $1m prize fund.

Lee Westwood (5/1) heads the field having claimed a win in the season ending Dubai World Championship. Despite a final round 73 the World Number Three had done enough in the earlier rounds to hold off the chasing pack. His confidence level will be high and he should be playing without any real pressure. His form in Asia has been impeccable, he has won his last two Asian Tour starts and has had plenty of other wins in the Far East.

South Africa's Charl Schwartzel (8/1) has really grown from strength to strength since his Masters win in April and he has risen to 11th in the world having registered eight more top-10 finishes. Five of those top-10 finishes have come in his last five tournaments. This will be his ninth consecutive tournament in eight different tournaments. The slender South African is 8/5 to record a top-5 finish in Thailand.

Sergio Garcia (8/1) is the most rested of the competitors in this field. The Spaniard, playing in his first event since back-to-back Tour wins in Spain in October last week managed an 11th place finish. He should be a lot looser for this week's event and while most others will be suffering from the fatigue that accompanies the usual Christmas wind down, Garcia should be both mentally and physically sharp.

Juvic Pagunsan (40/1) may not be a familiar name to many, but he is the Asian Tour's Order of Merit champion in waiting and he will be looking to upset some of the more established names. Sweet-swinging Pagunsan is looking to continue his rich vein of form and fly the flag for Asian golfers. The Fillipino has enjoyed top-10s in Taipei and Singapore and has also finished in the runner-up spot at the Barclays Singapore Open. All these positive results have seen him sail to the top of the Order of Merit.

Simon Dyson (20/1) is a fan of the Far East, having won the Asian Tour Order of Merit earlier in his career. The Yorkshire man has already won twice this season and had a strong showing at the Open and enjoys playing on this continent. He finished in the mid-field last week, but after a horrendous start he did manage to pull it back and having sprinted round he should be quite loose.


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