Nitithorn Thippong eyeing Asian Tour three-peat at Yeangder TPC

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Nitithorn Thippong - TheGolfingHub
Having won The DGC Open in New Delhi in March for a much-celebrated first victory on Tour and the International Series Singapore in August, Nitithorn Thippong has been a revelation and his growing fan base is excited to see what will happen next. Photo: Paul Lakatos

Thailand’s Nitithorn Thippong will attempt to join an elite group of golfers who have won three Asian Tour titles in a single season this week when he competes in the US$700,000 Yeangder TPC, at Linkou International Golf and Country Club, in Taipei.

Having won The DGC Open in New Delhi in March for a much-celebrated first victory on Tour and the International Series Singapore in August, the 25-year-old has been a revelation and his growing fan base is excited to see what will happen next.

His breakthrough season has also seen him move into third place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, and fourth on the International Series Order of Merit, and with a wealth of tournaments remaining there is no doubt that finishing 2022 number one is a real possibility.

However, any realisation of that is being tempered by a cautious approach.

 

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Said the Thai: “I think for me, I’m thinking about catching up on the Order of Merit, it’s in my plans too, but I don’t want to think about it that much. I think it motivates me a lot, but I don’t want to think about it that much during the tournament rounds, because I think if I think about that a lot, it’s gonna ruin my game if you know what I mean? 

“So, this week, I just try to focus on my game as much as I can.  I never thought about it until I’m in this position right now.”

Only seven players have won three titles in a single season since the Asian Tour was launched in 2004, and many of them are household names: Miguel Angel Jimenez (2004), Tetsuji Hiratsuka (2010), Lee Westwood (2011), Thaworn Wiratchant (2012), Scott Hend (2013), Shiv Kapur (2017), and John Catlin (2018).

 

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And just two players have triumphed four times: Thailand’s Thaworn (2005) and his countryman Jazz Janewattananond (2019).  

American Sihwan Kim is the only other player to have enjoyed victory twice this year, having won the International Series Thailand, and Trust Golf Asian Mixed Stableford Challenge, also in Thailand.

This week is a landmark moment for the Asian Tour as it is returning to Chinese-Taipei for the first time in three years following the global pandemic.

Competitors from overseas had to quarantine for three days upon arrival, while this week’s event will adhere to bubble protocols with players required to stay within the limits of the hotel and golf club.

“Three days quarantine is okay,” said Nitithorn.

 

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“Did nothing, just watching Netflix and play games and practice a little bit. But I don’t know, right now it’s still like a quarantine because we cannot go out anywhere right, just golf course and hotel. I saw the 7-Eleven in front of the hotel, it’s like you can go, but you cannot go you know what I mean? It’s boring a little bit but it’s okay. Just come out, play golf and then go back.”

Nitithorn, nicknamed ‘Fever’, first rose to prominence in 2018, when he claimed the PGM Penang Championship on the Asian Development Tour – where he has mainly played since turning professional in 2015, until a never to be forgotten 2022.