Thongchai Jaidee closes in on return to World's Top-50 and Masters
Thongchai, who started the year at 80th place on the world rankings, finished third in the Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa and subsequently posted tied ninth finishes in Abu Dhabi and Qatar recently.
Asian Tour legend Thongchai Jaidee has moved closer to reaching world's top-50 rankings which will help him earn a return to the prestigious Masters Tournament in April.
The Thai golfer has enjoyed a wonderful start to his 2013 campaign with three successive top-10 finishes in South Africa and the Middle East to jump to 53rd position on the latest World Golf Ranking.
Players ranked in the top-50 the week prior to the Masters will earn invitations and Thongchai is certainly eyeing a place in the elite field. His compatriot and reigning Asian Tour number one Thaworn Wiratchant is already in the year's opening Major after receiving a special invitation from Augusta National.
Thongchai, who started the year at 80th place on the world rankings, finished third in the Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa and subsequently posted tied ninth finishes in Abu Dhabi and Qatar.
The former paratrooper will continue his quest when he tees up in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic starting from Thursday where he has drawn the top pairing with England's Lee Westwood and Qatar Masters champion Chris Wood.
Thongchai first played in the Masters Tournament in 2006 but failed to make the halfway cut. He earned a return in 2010 but retired in the second round due to an elbow injury.
The 43-year-old, who holds an unprecedented three Asian Tour Order of Merit crowns and 13 titles in Asia, enjoyed a memorable 2012 campaign when he notched his first victory on European soil at the ISPS Handa Wales Open.
He ended the season in December with a third place finish at the season-ending Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia and has continued to ride on his momentum with a fast start to the 2013 season.
Thongchai is presently the highest ranked Asian Tour member in the world. Korea's KJ Choi, an honorary member of the Asian Tour, is two spots behind the Thai while Australian Marcus Fraser, who finished second on the Order of Merit last season, is in 58th place.
Thaworn, who became the oldest man at 45 years old to win the Order of Merit last season, is ranked 70th, while Vijay Singh of Fiji, another honorary member, is 89th followed by Indian duo Gaganjeet Bhullar and Jeev Milkha Singh is 94th and 95th positions, respectively.
The other members in the world's top-200 include Y.E. Yang of Korea (118th), Filipino Juvic Pagunsan (122nd), Korea's Kim Hyung-sung (126th), Thailand's Prom Meesawat (147th) and South Africa's Jbe Kruger (159th).