Close followers of The Open will already have got to know the name Jazz Janewattananond.
After all, it’s not one that you can easily forget!The 23-year-old made his major debut last summer at Carnoustie and now looks set to break into the big time in 2019.
Last week’s impressive win at the Singapore Open – holding off the likes of Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia to claim victory – has moved him into the world’s top 100 for the first time.
And, with the Singapore Open doubling as the third tournament of The 2019 Open Qualifying Series, Janewattananond has booked his spot at Portrush for July of this year.
So just who is the Thai sensation?PRECOCIOUS TALENT
The child prodigy turned professional at only 15 back in 2010 – and before that had become the youngest ever player to make a cut on the Asian Tour.
And all that promise is now coming good for the youngster – whose real name is Atiwit but is known as Jazz due to his father’s fondness for that genre of music.
“After playing my last tournament of 2016, I went to become a monk for two weeks.” Jazz Janewattananond
Formerly a competitive swimmer before turning his attentions to golf, Janewattananond has already proven he can keep his head above water.
Now we are finding out if he can swim with the sharks.
Janewattananond is also not afraid to try different things in his pursuit of perfection.
Ahead of the 2017 season, he put his clubs away and focused on preparing his mind for the challenges of life on and off the course.
“After playing my last tournament of 2016, I went to become a monk for two weeks,” he said.
“I prayed and chanted every day in the temple. I felt really peaceful, even till now. I seem to take things a lot easier now.”
It was last year’s Singapore Open that earned the Thai star his first shot at major glory.
A fourth-place finish granting him a spot at Carnoustie and, although he arrived without much experience of links golf, he showed signs of real promise for the future.
“Playing in The Open last year was a huge moment in my career and I’m so happy to have qualified again by winning the Singapore Open.” Jazz Janewattananond
He fired four birdies in an opening round of 74 at the Angus links and then backed it up with a steady 76 the next day. That was not enough to reach the weekend but it was still a positive display.
“Playing in The Open last year was a huge moment in my career and I’m so happy to have qualified again by winning the Singapore Open.
“Getting a place in The Open is the best and I am looking forward to Royal Portrush now. I have heard it is tough and it will be a challenge so I will need to prepare well.”
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD
A shift in mindset made all the difference in Singapore earlier this month. He fired a six-under-par 65 in the final round to take the title, the biggest win of his career.
"You know, when I was sitting here previously doing the pre-tournament interviews, I wasn't planning on winning. My goal was just to grab one of the four qualifying spots for The Open Championship," said Jazz, who picked up the winner's cheque of US$180,000 (S$244,500).
"I was still thinking the same thing this morning. It wasn't until the back nine that I felt, 'Oh, I could actually win this', and then the pressure was on."
Expect much more from the man who has long been tipped for the top.