Thai star Pariya Junhasavasdikul believes that living life to the fullest is his best route to golfing success as he prepares for his title defence at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters later this month.
The 30-year-old two-time Asian Tour winner produced a gritty victory at Seri Selangor Golf Club a year ago and is looking forward to becoming a repeat champion when the RM1.3 million (approximately US$410,000) tournament is played from September 18-21, 2014.
The talented Thai will return to Malaysia with his form intact as he has yet to miss a single cut on the Asian Tour this season.
Part of Pariya’s preparation for his title defence has been rather unorthodox. During the Tour’s summer break, he indulged in his hobbies, which included flying and surfing. The Purdue University graduate believes a healthy balance of golf and personal interests has helped in his golfing career thus far.
“To be honest, I’m not really a hard working person. I enjoy my fair share of time outside the golf course more than on the course. I live my life and I enjoy doing what I love to do such as driving my car, surfing, hanging out with friends and doing a little bit of flying,” said Pariya.
“But of course when it comes to golf, business is business. I take care of whatever that needs to be done.”
Pariya, who is a licensed pilot, makes no secret of his passion for flying and flew a single-seater last month. For him, flying provides a bigger thrill than playing golf.
“When you are up in the air, the sky is your limit whereas on the golf course, the out of bounds is your limit!” said Pariya, who is currently ranked 24th on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit. “I would consider flying definitely being more thrilling than golf.”
He hopes to be soaring once again at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters, which made its debut on the Asian Tour in 2008. Last year, he defeated close friend Baek Seuk-hyun of Korea and India’s Anirban Lahiri to the title.
“I was going through a sloppy year and all of a sudden, I put myself in contention,” he recalled. “I kept telling myself ‘here’s your opportunity, seize it and don’t let it go.’ I was glad I pulled it off.
“To bring back the good memories from last year is going to be very special but it will be more special if I successfully defend the title. I’m definitely looking forward to the event. I love Malaysian crowds as they are probably one of the best in Asia.”
Pariya said he was surprised to win last year as his game wasn’t suited to the ultra-challenging Seri Selangor course, which is notoriously known for its narrow and tree-lined fairways and firm greens. Interestingly, his other win on the Asian Tour came at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club’s Tamsui course which is similar in many ways.
“Both Seri Selangor or Tamsui don’t really suit my game at all. I like wide-open type of golf courses with soft and fast greens. But somehow both my wins came at tight courses with firm greens and played under difficult conditions,” he said.
“I can’t really explain why. I guess when you play in really difficult golf courses, everyone is going to miss the greens and I guess I was lucky enough that my short game showed up during that week. Hopefully my short game will show up again.”