MUCH of the attention is on Masters champion Bubba Watson, but focus will also be on the Asian Tour’s teen star Miguel Tabuena as he tees off in the very first flight in the opening round of the Thailand Golf Championship on Thursday.
The 18-year-old Tabuena, twice a winner this year on the Philippine Golf Tour and hoping to make his mark in the international scene, has been scheduled to start his campaign at Amata Spring Country Club in Bangkok with Yoshinobu Tsukada and amateur Natipong Srithong.
Japan Senior Open champion Frankie Miñoza tees off with Gaurav Ghei and Wisut Artjanawat, while Antonio Lascuna has been grouped with Marcus Both and Mo Jung Kyung.
Last year’s Asian Tour top money earner Juvic Pagunsan starts his campaign close to noontime with Czech-German Alex Cejka and Swede Daniel Chopra.
Elmer Salvador also starts on the back nine with Kenichi Kuboya and Rick Kulacz, while Mars Pucay tees off with Thanyakon Khrongpha and Wade Ormsby.
Angelo Que tees off around noontime on No. 10 with Chan Yih-shin and Pariya Junhasavasdikul.
World No. 12 Watson, who won at Augusta for his only win so far this year, heads the star-studded cast in the US$1 million event and will be in the company of Ryo Ishikawa and King’s Cup champion Arnond Vongvanij of Thailand.
World No. 6 Lee Westwood, the 2011 champion, will play alongside Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Thaworn Wiratchant and Hiroyuki Fujita.
Charl Schwartzel, last year’s Masters champion, is grouped with European Ryder Cup team member Nicolas Colsaerts and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
The tournament, the penultimate event on the Asian Tour calendar, also features 2011 British Open champion Darren Clarke, Spanish star and European Ryder Cup player Sergio Garcia and Hunter Mahan.
The Asian Tour season ends with the Iskandar Johor Open in Johor Bahru, Malaysia set December 13 to 16.