Abu dhabi: Ten of Thailand's finest golfing stars will be in action in Abu Dhabi this week, as part of a strong Asian Tour cohort in search of three golden tickets to the LIV Golf League through the innovative new LIV Golf Promotions event.
The 10 Thais are part of a field of over 70 players who will battle it out over four rounds in three days at Abu Dhabi Golf Club from Dec 8-10 for three spots on the roster for next season's LIV Golf League.
A total of 60 players will start tomorrow, and only the top 20 from round one will start again with a score reset on day two, where they will be joined by an additional 13 players with exemptions.
From there, a final top 20 will battle it out on Sunday over two rounds, with scores once again reset at the start of the day, for those three golden tickets onto the LIV Golf League.
Nine of the 10 Thai players qualified through their high placings on The International Series Order of Merit, the Asian Tour's set of 10 marquee events, while Nitithorn Thippong, last season's International Series Singapore champion, also made it through thanks to his victory in the Indonesia Open on the Asian Tour in August.
Nine of the 10 will start in round one tomorrow, with only Gunn Charoenkul receiving an exemption into round two thanks to his seventh-place finish in the OOM standings.
Gunn is putting in the hard yards, both in terms of fitness and short game, as he aims to take advantage of his first-round bye.
The 31-year-old, whose best result was runner-up in the International Series Qatar in February to eventual Order of Merit champion Andy Ogletree, said: "I am looking forward to a great experience. My ball striking has been much better since China, Hong Kong and Indonesia [the final three events of The International Series schedule]. If I could refine my short game, I think I will be in a good spot, so that's what I'm concentrating on."
Sarit Suwannarut goes into the qualifier in good form, having leapt up the standings to 13th thanks to a superb victory in the China Open at Hidden Grace Golf Club in Shenzhen last month.
Although forced to withdraw from defending his Indonesian Masters title two weeks ago because of illness, Sarit is planning to stick with his usual aggressive approach in a bid for glory, as he looks to secure a place on the roster alongside some of the world's best.
He said: "I feel pretty confident, I have had a lot of practice following Indonesia -- I didn't go back home and instead tried to prepare myself there, and I feel confident that I am going to be able to make that top three overall if I can play my game and feel good."
Phachara Khongwatmai just missed out on an exemption into the second round on the last day of action on The International Series, dropping one place to ninth in the Order of Merit standings at the death thanks to Gaganjeet Bhullar's incredible wire-to-wire victory at the Indonesian Masters.
The 24-year-old is still in fine form going into the week however, with three top-25 finishes in the final three events on The International Series including a T3 in the Hong Kong Open, after a thrilling battle with eventual champion Ben Campbell of New Zealand and LIV Golf sensation Cameron Smith.