Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Lee ready to return to top flight at Bangkok Airways Open
by LemLabs

By lemlabs @ 7:22 PM :: 103 Views :: 0 Comments :: Article Rating :: Scoops, Other Sports
Koh Samui: Defending champion Lee Sung hopes to rekindle his magical performance at the Bangkok Airways Open when he tees off on Thursday.

The deaf-born star enjoyed a steady campaign in 2007 thanks to his success last year and he will return to the Santiburi Samui Country Club hoping to rejuvenate his form this season.

"I'm really happy to come back here. It's nice to return to a place where I've won as it brings back good memories," said Lee.

But the Seoul-based golfer will be faced with a strong local contingent in the US$300,000 Asian Tour event in the likes of Prayad Marksaeng, who won in Japan last week, former winner Chawalit Plaphol, Thaworn Wiratchant and young guns Chapchai Nirat and Chinnarat Phadungsil. The other top contenders include Australia's Adam Blyth, Singapore's Mardan Mamat, in-form Chinese Taipei star Lin Wen-tang, who won the Asian Tour International in March, and compatriot Lu Wen-teh.

"I will use the memories of last year to help me lift my second title. I have not been having a good spell this season. I was unable to string together a solid week but I hope that my performance here will turn things around for me," said Lee, who will be without his caddie and brother Lee Sung-joo.

"I would have enjoyed the company of my brother on the bag with me this week again but he has to spend time with his family and his one-year-old child so I will be using a local caddie. My dad is here to give me the extra support," added Lee, who is carrying a shoulder injury.

"I think I have a joint problem on my right shoulder. It hurts a lot. I'm not sure if I have to go for an operation but I will have to visit the hospital right after this event to confirm the extent of the injury. But for now, I'll focus on my goal this week.

"I like playing on a course which has narrow fairways and a tricky layout. It is challenging but it can also reward a player who is able to adapt to the conditions," admitted the 28-year-old, who topped the field at the 2004 Asian Tour's Qualifying School.

Former winner Chawalit will be hoping to keep his driver in the bag this week and determined to take advantage of the treacherous par-71 course.

"The greens are hard but the rain should make it easier. The course condition is very similar to how it was back in 2006 when I won so I'm feeling quite confident this week.

"I've been playing in Japan recently but I am not happy with my performance. My driving has been letting me down but the course is different here. I hope to use my driver a lot less here since this layout requires solid iron play and putting," said Chawalit, who is a two-time winner on the Asian Tour.

Singapore's Mardan Mamat, who finished in fifth place last year, has been enjoying a consistent ride this season making the cut in eight straight events that include two top-10 finishes as he relishes his return to Koh Samui.

"It's nice always nice to play here. I am pleased with my form this season and my steady run shows that I am heading in the right direction this year. The course is in very good condition and I hope to keep my rhythm and nail another strong result," said the 40-year-old Mardan.