Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee has revealed the secret to his recent surge of good form as he prepares for Thursday's start of the 141st British Open -- getting a grip on the situation.
The three-time Asian Tour number one has made 10 consecutive cuts in Asia and Europe since mid-April and during the streak, he claimed a first victory on European soil in June at the Wales Open and posted five other top-25 efforts.
Injuries led to a loss of form for Thongchai, who endured a quiet 2011 season with one top-10 showing. While he has got himself fit, it was eventually a simple tip from coach Peter Wolfenstetter in Seville in May that made a huge difference.
"I used to hold the club in my palm and the grip was loose sometimes when I hit the ball," Thongchai said. "Now I use more of my fingers to hold the club. I'm more confident now. After Seville, I won in Wales. It was amazing as it came so fast."
"This week was not on my schedule," Thongchai said. "I never thought about qualifying as I didn't know about the mini-ranking on the European Tour. I only heard I had a chance the week before the Irish Open and I knew if I made the cut in Ireland, I would make it here."
"I'm surprised I got in. I've just played solid recently. This week, it's a special week and I'm looking forward to it."
Success has boosted Thongchai's confidence as Royal Lytham looms.
"My feeling is confident after Wales," he said. "I have been on the leaderboards on two or three other occasions since then. I think I have learned how to play in the weather (in Europe) and my putting is also confident.
"I have always dreamt of winning in Europe and now I've got it. I've got two more years of exemption and I can concentrate on winning more tournaments."
Thongchai's best chance to win a British Open came in 2009 at Turnberry when he was four strokes off the lead in eighth place entering the last round.
Thongchai, 42, fired a 72 in the last round to finish in a share of 13th.
"Turnberry was a bit different as there are fewer bunkers there. I expect this course to be harder," Thongchai said.
"There are a lot of bunkers on this course and the rough is thick. It can be a killer course. If you go into the bunker, you've got no chance."
Thongchai's ultimate goal is to win a major crown.
"I always dream of winning a major," Thongchai said. "If you win this, your life will change. Your whole country, your whole family, will change. I was top-15 (at Turnberry) which was my best major result. If I can play better than that, my record will be better. I just want to keep playing better."
Source: AFP Asian Edition