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Golf: US Open door opens for Thongchai

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Thongchai Jaidee's disappointment in losing out in the final of the Volvo World Match-Play Championship has been eased knowing he will qualify for next month's US Open in Pennsylvania.

Jaidee was at Varna Airport in Bulgaria early Monday when he checked the updated World Rankings following this week's European Tour event and the PGA Tour event in Texas.

The Thailand golfer jumped 24 places to 49th in the world and will be assured of a US Open tee time by being inside the top-60 world ranked players at the close of this week's European Tour flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in England.

And even if Thongchai misses the halfway cut this week he will still not drop outside the top-60.

"Of course, I was a little disappointed last night but very pleased to know I will now play in the US Open," he said.

"It is a nice reward after all my good golf this week and it is very good bonus for me.

"I was focussing on trying to win the Match-Play and when I got into the final I knew that whatever happened I would make a big jump up the World Rankings.

"So overall it's been a good week for me and I am very proud of how well I played, and then competing against a player like Graeme McDowell because he is a world class player and he showed that yesterday."

Thongchai is now just seven spots shy of his highest-ever World Ranking of 42nd in March 2010 and at 43-years of age he will head to the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania as one of the oldest players in the year's second Major.

It will be Thongchai's third US Open having finished 74th on his debut in 2001 and then 47th three years ago behind McDowell at Pebble Beach.

The Thai star indicated he will withdraw his name from the May 30th starting Nordea Masters in Sweden and return home for a fortnight's break before heading to the United States.

"This week's BMW PGA is going to be a long week on a very long and tough golf course, and after playing more than 100 holes in Bulgaria I am going to need a rest before the US Open," he said.

"That's why I will withdraw from Sweden and just boost up my energy levels as I have a lot of big tournaments coming up in the next months."

Thongchai is already exempt into July's (British) Open Championship at Muirfield and is also assured of competing in the PGA Championship in Rochester, New York State.

Three weeks after competing in the year's final Major Thongchai will defend his Wales Open title at Celtic Manor and the scene last year of his first-ever victory on European soil.

"If I can keep playing the way I played for four days in Bulgaria I will be very happy," he said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130520/golf-us-open-door-opens-thongchai