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Three added to Royal Trophy team

Naomichi "Joe" Ozaki has added three new players to his Asian team to face Europe at next year's Royal Trophy in Bangkok, organisers said on Tuesday.

Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee has been recalled to the team while Japan's Toru Taniguchi and Tetsuji Hiratsuka make their debuts in the second edition of the matchplay event.

Thongchai, who is currently third in the Asian Tour order of merit, said he was proud to represent Asia in his home country and hoped the team could avenge Europe's slender 9-7 victory in the inaugural contest earlier this year.

"In the first edition of the Royal Trophy we played very well," he said in a statement.

"The Europeans won, but it was very close and we will play very hard to keep His Majesty's Royal Trophy here in Thailand."

Taniguchi claimed his 11th career title with victory in this year's Omaezaki Championship, while Hiratsuka won the Woodone Open to register his third title on the Japanese Tour.

Ozaki last week named South Korean pair Yang Yong-eun and compatriot SK Ho on his team, which he hopes can turn the tables on the Europeans.

European captain Seve Ballesteros has so far picked Irish pair Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley and Swedes Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson, who were all members of the Ryder Cup team that beat the United States in September.

The Royal Trophy takes place at the Amata Spring Country Club from Jan. 12-14.

November 21, 2006


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