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Wisut seeks to reprise Dongfeng Nissan role

Wisut ArtjanawatBANGKOK, Nov 22 - Wisut Artjanawat is hoping to reprise his role as one of the mainstays of the Asia-Pacific select side to take on Team China in the Dongfeng Nissan Cup next week.

The rock-steady Thai won all three of his matches in the first edition of the Ryder Cup-style team tournament last year, and is looking to repeat that performance at the CTS Tycoon Club in Shenzhen, China, from November 30 to December 2.

"I've very happy to be playing again in the Dongfeng Nissan Cup," Wisut said following his fourth-place finish in the Gowa Classic on the ASEAN PGA Tour at the weekend.

"It was so exciting to play, and I like matchplay very much."

The Asia-Pacific won 12 1/2 to 11 1/2 on a gripping final day of singles last year after the teams were level 3 - 3 following the fourball matches and 6 - 6 following the foursomes.

Held under the OneAsia umbrella, the tournament pits China's best 12 golfers -- including veteran Zhang Lianwei and Liang Wenchong -- against an Asia-Pacific select side captained by five-time Major winner Peter Thomson, the first Australian to be inducted into world golf's Hall of Fame.

"He was a very nice guy and I liked him a lot," Wisut said of his experience with the legendary Thomson, who is responsible for melding players from nine countries into a cohesive unit.

Wisut is one of the few Thais plying his trade on OneAsia and finished the top home player, along with Arnond Vongvanij, in joint third place at the circuit's Thailand Open in August -- his best result since joining the tour last year.

After a stellar amateur career in which he was part of five winning Putra Cup teams and once claimed the individual honours, Wisut scored his breakthrough professional victory at the Mercedes Benz Masters in the Philippines on the ASEAN PGA Tour in 2008.

He also claimed the Sabah Masters last year to become the first player to win four times on the Tour, and also the first to claim back-to-back titles.

The 31-year-old from Bangkok says a much improved mental approach to the game is responsible for his recent form and feels he is finally maturing as a player after working with a sports psychologist.

"My mental game is much improved. I am concentrating more when I am playing," he said.

"Perhaps I am growing up. My swing and putting are almost the same as two or three years ago, so it is mostly mental. I don't focus on the result; just the moment."

The modest Wisut credits playing partner Gerald Rosales of the Philippines for helping him to a perfect record in the Dongfeng Nissan Cup last year after they won their foursomes and fourball matches.

"I don't know what the secret is; I think it is because I had a good partner last year and I was a bit lucky on the singles match," he said.

Rosales won't be playing this year, but the Asia-Pacific side is packed with talent including Australian Andre Stolz, winner of last year's Thailand Open.

Other members of the team include Scott Laycock (Australia), Michael Long  and Mark Brown (New Zealand), Cho Jin-ho (Korea), Jason Kang (Australia), Rory Hie (Indonesia), Nicholas Fung (Malaysia), Choo Tze Huang (Singapore) and Soushi Tajima and Yosuke Tsukada, both of Japan.

Wisut has another incentive to perform well in China -- he will be accompanied by his biggest fan, his father.

"My father really wants to go with me to watch, same as last year," he said of Wisal, 64.

"He started to play golf with me 20 years ago and watches almost every tournament I play in Thailand."

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