Thai WPGA rises at Phoenix

Atthaya in swing.

The very best of Thai female golf will be visiting Pattaya from 26-28 March for the Phoenix Ladies Classic. This tournament will be the first event for the newly formed Thai WPGA which has a full 2021 event list with an attractive 2.5 million baht being on offer per tournament.

The formation of the new tour has a very much Pattaya feel about it. Its president is the Phoenix Gold owner Chanya Swangchitr who continues to be driving the profile of Thai Ladies Golf to the forefront of the sport internationally. Since taking charge at Phoenix the club has hosted three outstanding Ladies European Tour events, as well as many Asian Tour men’s competitions.

The hope for the new tour will be that many of the nation’s players will find it far easier to earn decent prizes in their home country as opposed to travelling every other week to China or the Philippines. As well as the Thai WPGA offer financial rewards it will also attract many international golfers as each event will carry attractive world ranking points.

By Chanya’s side on the committee will be the Phoenix Gold Golf manager Nathawat Aksornchat. The experience that Nathawat has gained from hosting the multiple international events that have been held at the course will hold him in good stead for the foreseeable future.

Atthaya hold her trophy with Phoenix Gold owner Chanya Swangchitr.

One thing in the new tour’s favour is the array of young talent that is emerging in Thailand. No player has a higher profile than Atthaya “Jeeno” Thitikul who, although she is only 18, has already won two LET events at the course. She is entered in the first event before she travels to Europe to compete in the LET for the second half of 2021.

Another winner of the LET title who will be competing is the 2018 winner Kanyalak “Bew” Preedasuttijit who will head a strong local challenge. The Chonburi player spends much of her practice time at Phoenix under the watchful eye of Nathawat and there will be few players who will have a stronger putting game on the course.

Kanyalak relaxes with her trophy.

Another local girl who is likely to mount a strong challenge is Phannarai “Queen” Messom-Us. Having learnt her golf at nearby Plutaluang Golf Club the 16 year old has already experienced playing in LET and Japan LPGA events, as well as playing international golf for the Thailand Amateur Team.

With the season being so young it is hard to gauge current form but there are few players who will be as confident as Arpichaya “Piano” Yubol. The season started with the Thailand Mixed Tournament in Hua Hin, and despite being under great pressure she held off a variety of top Thai Ladies and Asian tour men to win this prestigious tournament. It is also interesting to note that Atthaya Thitikul finished one shot behind.

Promotional sheet for the event.

There can be no doubt that the creation of this new tour is going to provide a great boost to Thailand ladies golf. The abundance of talent is immense, and the field also includes LPGA regular Panarat Thanapolboonyaras and past Thai LPGA order of merit winners Chonlada Chayanun and Parinda Phokan. It is exciting that the Thai WPGA chooses to hold its first tournament in the Pattaya region, which continues to cements itself as being the stronghold of Thailand’s golf.