By Richard Talbot, Pattaya Mail
Almost a year has passed since Chonburi resident Kanyalak “Bew” Preedasuttijit stepped onto the 18th green at her home course at Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club to claim a one-shot victory in the 2018 Ladies European Thailand Championship.
As well as this victory giving her entries into both the 2018 Women’s British Open and the 2018 Evian Championship, it also gave her the opportunity to claim a two-year membership of the Ladies European Tour. This tour is not the most popular destination for the majority of Thai players, who often choose to either chase their LPGA dreams in America or stay closer to home by playing in Japan and China.
Bew decided that playing on the Ladies European Tour would be of greater benefit to her game and the last 11 months has seen her crisscrossing the globe to compete in many far flung destinations: England, Scotland, France, Spain, India, Australia, Jordan, Dubai and Morocco have all been visited as Bew has established herself on the LET.
Her choice to pursue this career path was a brave decision as she is the only Thai national who plays regularly on this highly competitive circuit and the year has seen her playing out of her comfort zone. Yet she has successfully embraced not only the golf but the whole experience of travelling around the world.
Some of her experiences have seen her camel riding in Jordan, koala spotting in Australia, visiting both the Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester and the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona, plus sampling the delights of the Emirates shopping mall in Dubai. She has also experienced playing in many “first time” events organised by the LET, which she would not have done on any other tour.
In Dubai, she played in the first ever professional floodlit tournament in which she finished in 13th place. This was only one week after playing in Morocco where the ladies’ Lalla Meryem Cup was co-located with the men’s Hassan Trophy on the PGA European Tour. In Jordan, she competed in the first ever tournament that saw men competing against women in the same field.
The LET has been ideal for Bew and the tour has embraced her into its ranks. This tour has organised events that in time every other tour will follow, yet as well as being innovative, the people in charge have displayed a personal touch that has made every player feel welcome, regardless of their country of origin.
On June 20 the LET arrives at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club for the 2019 Ladies European Thailand Championship. Kanyalak will be competing as will many other local Thai players, with the field including the 2017 winner, Atthaya Thitikul.
It is quite fitting that the 2019 Phoenix Gold tournament is the last event before places for the AIG Women’s British Open are confirmed. Only the top 25 ranked players on the OOM, plus the leading three LET members in the Ladies European Thailand Championship not otherwise exempt, will be sure of an entry and Bew’s 2019 record of only missing one cut means that with a good result on her home course, an entry could be secured. Regardless of the outcome, this is one golf year that the 21-year-old local girl will never forget.