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Cambodian Classic field stocked with Tour talent

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Six golfers in the top 10 of the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit will line up for the fifth leg of the 2012 season when the US$300,000 Handa Faldo Cambodian Classic hits the Nick Faldo-designed Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap on March 14.

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Thailand’s Prom Meesawat, who is currently third on the Tour’s money list, will be the highest ranked member of a field that is set to include no fewer than 26 Tour champions and players of 29 different nationalities.

The spotlight could well be on Singapore’s most successful player on the tour, 44-year-old Mardan Mammat, who broke a six-year trophy drought by winning the ICTSI Phillipine Open in February.

Taking that spectacular form to another high, Mammat won a thrilling playoff in Bangkok against fellow countryman Liam Chih Bing and American Jonathan Moore to grab the fourth and final qualifying ticket to the world’s oldest Major, the British Open.

“It has been a sensational few weeks for me. I can’t believe I made it to the Open,” Mammat, who is currently sixth on merit list, was quoted as saying in an Asian Tour press release yesterday.

If his final round 64 at the British Open Qualifier in Bangkok is anything to go by, Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng is ready and eager for his seventh Tour title.

Among other prime contenders are Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who is fifth in the standings, Bangladeshi Siddikur, currently eighth, big-hitting Thai star Chapchai Nirat, who is ranked ninth, and fellow Thai Chawalit Plaphol, who is 10th.

There are several dangerous floaters who are eminently capable of ruffling a few feathers.

They are India’s Himmat Rai, winner of the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic last year, American Berry Henson and former Asian Tour number one Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand,

Also in the watch list include Japanese star Daisuke Maruyama, India’s Shiv Kapur, Australians Darren Beck and Rick Kulacz, Malaysia’s Danny Chia and South African Peter Karmis, winner of the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic in 2010.

The six-time major winner Nick Faldo will grace the inaugural event and will also play in a Pro-Am in Phnom Penh on March 18.

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