Sadom Kaewkanjana. Asian Tour

There’s always a measured sense of calm on Sadom Kaewkanjana’s face. But mention links golf and he brightens up, considerably.

That’s a bit surprising, considering that the 25-year-old Thai hardly played on links courses in his growing years. His first stint came well into his teenage years in amateur tournaments, and the love story reached a peak last year during the 150th Open Championship at the Old Course where he closed with a stunning seven-under par 65 for a tied 11th place last year — the best-ever performance by a player from his country in the event.

Ahead of this week’s $1.5 million St Andrews Bay Championship, being played Fairmont St Andrews, he says there is a very specific reason for his love for links golf, and the excitement is palpable.

“I love links courses. I have been looking forward to this tournament,” said Sadom, currently in sixth place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

“Honestly, I don’t like to chip much. But the links courses give you an amazing opportunity to be creative with your putter. To be able to putt from way off the green is a challenge that I love. It’s a great satisfaction when you hit a long putt and can see it snaking all the way to the hole.”

Sadom, who eagled the fifth hole at the Open last year with a well-read putt from 45 feet, finished third in the inaugural International Series England at Slaley Hall last year, another indication of how comfortable he is in British conditions.

“I really like playing in the UK. I don’t mind the cold and I don’t mind the wind,” he said. “I am also OK with the rain. I played well at The Open last year and also at Slaley Hall. Hopefully, I will be able to carry on the great memories I have from the Old Course to Fairmont, which is just a few miles away in St Andrews.

“St Andrews is such a special place for golf and all the courses in the area are a dream to play for any golfer. One should not be worrying about the weather when we get a chance to play here.”

Sadom Kaewkanjana. Asian Tour

The Thai star recently spent a month as a practising monk in a monastery back home, and feels the lessons he learned there will become a powerful 15th club in his arsenal when on a golf course.

“It was something that I wanted to do and when I got the break in Asian Tour schedule, I went ahead with it,” he said.

“It was all about leading a very simple life, and a very regimented one. We had to follow a strict schedule. We only ate breakfast and lunch, and that felt good. We were not allowed to use our mobile phones when in the monastery.

“It was a great experience as a person, and I really believe it is going to beneficial for my golf. We had to do a lot of meditation, and it has helped me concentrate better. It was all about living in the present, and those are just some of the things that you need to do when playing golf.”

The St Andrews Bay Championship starts on Thursday.