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ENGLISH STARS POULTER & WESTWOOD AIMING FOR STRONG PERFORMANCE AT LIV GOLF INVITATIONAL BANGKOK IN ADVANCE OF SEASON-ENDING TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP Veteran pros hoping to secure a first-round bye in Miami for Majesticks GC by racking up points in LIV Golf’s debut Asian event

posted Oct 7, 2022, 9:35 AM by siam coverage   [ updated Oct 7, 2022, 9:36 AM ]
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Bangkok, Thailand (October 5, 2022): Majesticks GC teammates Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood are aiming to take full control of their fourball’s march to LIV Golf’s season-ending Miami semi-finals by making experience pay off at this week’s penultimate regular season Invitational at Stonehill, Bangkok.

The veteran pair – who between them have racked up more than 50 years playing elite level Tour golf – are in the Thai capital for this weekend’s $25million LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok, the sixth of eight debut events on LIV’s 2022 calendar.

As a team, the Ryder Cup stars – whose Majesticks teammates are fellow Englishman Sam Horsfield, and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson – arrive at the event third in the season-long standings, only one point ahead of fourth-placed Crushers GC and 20 ahead of the Sergio Garcia-led Fireballs.

With two events to play before LIV Golf’s season-ending $50million Team Championship in Miami, the Majesticks GC pair today conceded that despite being in a strong position to secure a top four berth that would give them a bye into the deciding event’s semi-final, their work is far from done – and that they will be looking to take full control in ensuring they hold onto that spot with a strong showing this week in Bangkok.

Poulter said: “There's a lot of emphasis in making sure we finish in that top four. There’s many reasons to make sure you are in that bye situation. Obviously, you’re either playing on the Friday or you have an extra day to prepare for Saturday in Miami. We’re fully well aware, just as much as every other team is aware of how valuable that is to make sure you're in that bye position to obviously get through that quarter-finals stage.

“We know we're only a point ahead, and we need to maintain that and if not increase that, and we're very conscious, so thanks for reminding us!”

Westwood added: “We are 20 points ahead of fifth – I'm not bothered who’s in fourth. We're the important team to focus on, but, if anything, you've got to look at who’s in fifth. They’re the ones that could kick us out or somebody behind there. If we can control what we're doing, then we know we’re good enough to play well these next couple of weeks and hang on to third or even higher.

“I'd rather be in third than fifth position!”

Both men have touched down in a continent where they hold good memories.

“Right from the beginning of my career, 1994, I think my second or third event ever was the Johnnie Walker Classic in Phuket, Blue Canyon, and fell in love with Asia then, and have always enjoyed coming back here,” said Westwood, who has bagged more than ten titles in the region.

“Obviously [coming back to Asia] wasn’t possible through COVID over the past couple of years, three years, and I’ve missed it. I’ve been a regular coming back for the Thailand Golf Championship and Indonesia Masters and a lot of other tournaments all over Asia. I think I've got 11 or 12 wins in Asia. It’s somewhere I've always tried to play. It’s nice to be back. It’s a part of the world I look to come and play in and I’ve been successful, which makes it even better. It’s nice to be here with LIV and taking golf around the globe again.”

Said Poulter: “I’m really similar. Right from the year 2000, once I got my European Tour card, traveling around Asia, playing, and having a level of success, as you said: Singapore, I won in Hong Kong, I won in Japan, runner-up in Korea, won down in Australia, so enjoyed the aspect of playing internationally and obviously just not in one place.

“I’ve loved my success in all the years that I've been traveling for the last 24 years, and as Lee said, we really didn’t have that option through COVID, but obviously now the new schedule and how it’s going to lay itself out with LIV, it's a fantastic opportunity because we've got so many fans that we've picked up through all the years of winning great tournaments in this part of the world, and it will be great to see them all again.”

Also speaking ahead of Friday’s opening round at Stonehill was Team Ironheads GC captain, Kevin Na, whose team – consisting of hometown stars Sadom Kaewkanjana and Phachara Khongwatmai, and Sihwan Kim of the USA – can expect a warm welcome from the Thai fans.

Asked if he is expecting his team to receive the bulk of the local backing, Na said: “You know it, and a that’s a lot of pressure on you guys! I feel like we have a home court advantage. The two Thai guys are amazing golfers. They're very talented. Sadom had a great finish at the Open Championship; Phachara bombs it, and the course is going to set up perfect for him. We're going to have the Thai fans supporting us, so I'm excited.”

The LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok takes place at Stonehill from October 7-9, and tickets are available now. General admission price for a single-day grounds pass is 800THB, with three-day passes on sale for 1600THB at LIVGolf.com or at thaiticketmajor.com. Single day and three-day hospitality packages for the popular Club 54 and Gallery Club experiences are also available. Those under 15 are able to enter for free.
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