Donald Jaidee Named Johnnie Walker Award Winners

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BEIJING -- Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee was named the Johnnie Walker Asian Player of the Year for the second time, tournament organizers said Sunday.

England's Luke Donald was named Johnnie Walker Young Golfer of the Year. The 27-year-old finished 20th on the Order of Merit for the European Tour, a career best.
 
Thongchai, who grew up playing golf with a makeshift 3-iron on a bamboo stick, first received the honor in 2002. Earlier this year, he swept four main awards of the Asian Tour 2004, including the prestigious Players' Player of the Year and Order of Merit titles.
 
The former paratrooper claimed his second Asian Tour Order of Merit title in four years in 2004 and earned record winnings of U.S.$381,929.
 
'My year's highlight in 2004 was probably winning in (the Malaysian Open) as I made a hole in one on the final day,' said Thongchai, who on Sunday was tied for 12th place after a third-round 64 at the Johnnie Walker Classic.
 
Past recipients of the award have been China's Zhang Lianwei, South Korea's Choi Kyung-ju, India's Arjun Atwal and Thongchai's countryman Boonchu Ruangkit.
 
Donald won his first European Tour title in 2004, when he claimed the Scandinavian Masters in Sweden. He went on to claim his second European Tour win four weeks later, holding off a strong chasing pack that included Miguel Angel Jimenez and Sergio Garcia to win the European Masters in Switzerland.
 
Donald was later chosen by Europe captain Bernhard Langer to join Scotland's Colin Montgomerie as one of his two wild card picks for 2004 The Ryder Cup against the United States.
 
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