Last played in The Open in 2011, his long wait coming to an end when he tied for fifth in January’s SMBC Singapore Open. Four spots at Royal Portrush were on offer as part of The Open Qualifying Series, but joint runner-up Paul Casey and fourth-placed Matthew Fitzpatrick were already exempt.
Meesawat, world No 503 at the time, birdied the final hole and said: “When the putt went in I felt really good. I still remember the experience of playing at Royal St George’s and I’ve been trying to qualify again ever since”. Known as “Big Dolphin”, Meesawat was twice a winner at the World Junior Championships and as a 15-year-old amateur won the All Thailand Tour’s Singha Masters in 1999. Turned professional five years later and grabbed his first Asian Tour title at the 2006 SK Telekom Open.
Won again in 2014, while his best performance on the European Tour was the previous year’s Hong Kong Open, where a closing 65 put him into a play-off with Miguel Angel Jimenez and Stuart Manley. A month away from his 50th birthday Jimenez won with a birdie at the first extra hole to extend his record as the circuit’s oldest-ever champion.