By Richard C Talbot
As Phoenix Gold is set to host the second year of the Ladies European Thailand Championship, everyone is looking forward to seeing the talent that will be on show from both Europe and Thailand.
Thailand’s golf has been thrust into the media spotlight with the success of the Jutanugarn sisters who already in 2018 have won three events, with Ariya winning the US Open barely three weeks ago and sister Moriya taking her first LPGA title in Los Angeles earlier in the year. More good news emerged from the same event as Patti Tavatanakit finished fifth overall, as well as finishing as the leading amateur player.
There are many Thai players like Patti who are playing in the States on golfing scholarships and currently Thailand has an enormous wealth of amateur talent. The national team seems to excel in which ever competition they are entered for, with Atthaya Thitikul, leading the way with both her individual and team performances.
The Thailand LPGA has ensured that there will be enough local players entered to mount a serious challenge on the title. The Thai LPGA order of merit is currently led by 16-year-old Aprichaya Yubol who is in fine form after a final round of 10-under-par saw her to victory last week at Green Valley in the fifth leg of their championship. She is closely followed in the table by Wanchanaa Poruangrong and Wannasiri Sirisampant who barely shoot bad rounds whenever they play.
Many of the Thai golfers travel far afield to play their golf and currently three of the players in this week’s starting line-up hold the top three places on the China LPGA order of merit. The 18-year-old Saranporn Langkulgasettrin leads the way and she is followed by Supamas Sangchan (the 2016 Sanya Ladies Open champion) and Kanyalak Preedasuttijit.
In fact, there are six Thai golfers in the China LPGA’s top 10 and all will be hoping to offer a serious challenge during the week in Pattaya. There is no doubt that Thailand has a crop of young and talented players and the country has many great golf courses and a climate that enables play and practice all year round.
The Thai government has invited the Ladies European Tour players, who will serve as inspirational role models for local girls during this week’s tournament. The Ladies European Thailand Championship will also provide a powerful platform to develop local talent and allow the players to measure themselves and how they need to improve to succeed on the global stage.