As the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific (WAAP) championship tees off today at the Singapore Island Country Club, some of the best players in the region are drawing on a winning mentality to motivate them at the prestigious championship.
India’s Avani Prashanth, who became the talk of the region with her sensational ten-shot win at last month’s Queen Sirikit Cup in the Philippines, is hoping a similar mindset will help her continue that form and win the WAAP.
Calling WAAP a “bookmark championship” of her season, the 16-year-old Prashanth will take on a quality field of 85 players from 22 countries. Including Prashanth, who jumped to number 77 after her Queen Sirikit triumph, there are 18 top-100 players of the World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR) competing this week.
The Bengaluru-based Prashanth is known for hitting the ball a long way, but her recent win by a record margin was because of better use of brain than brawn.
“I had a pretty good week at the Queen Sirikit Cup. But regardless of whether I have a good or a bad week, I sit and analyse it with my dad. We look at areas we need to improve on, and there was some even from that week,” said Prashanth.
“So, I have worked on those parts and I’m looking forward to keeping the same game plan – not to take any risks, and yet play my usual aggressive game. I played smart in Manila, which is what I need to do this week.”
Chinese Taipei’s Ting-Hsuan Huang is the defending champion. The 18-year-old won the title in sensational fashion last year at Siam Country Club in Thailand, when she mounted a late charge and made six birdies in her last 11 holes on Sunday.
That win got her exemptions into three major championships this year – AIG Women’s Open, the Amundi Evian Championship and the Chevron Championship – as well as the Hana Financial Group Championship and an invitation to play in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur (ANWA).
The always calm and composed Huang said: “This week, I am just going to enjoy playing with my partners and just have fun. The challenge for us this week is that we have to push our own trolleys and the golf course is very hilly. I just want to stay hydrated and not get impatient.”
Minsol Kim, the highest-ranked Korean in the field at world number 15, finished sixth individually in the Queen Sirikit Cup. She will not be short of motivation, after watching her idol and mentor Jin Young Ko win the HSBC Women’s Championship a few miles down the road in Singapore last week.
“We shared a room in Vietnam where the Korean national team was doing its winter training, and I asked her a lot of questions. Not only am I personally close to her, she’s also someone I really respect and admire. She is one of the top players in the world, but it’s her hard work and her attitude towards golf that is inspirational for me,” said Kim, who opened with a 64 in the LPGA’s BMW Ladies Championship last year and finished inside the top-ten.
“She makes me want to practice harder and focus more on my game. I was watching her winning last week in Singapore and since I know how much she was struggling (with an injury last year), I was also crying with her.”
Prashanth and Kim have been paired together for the first two rounds, alongside the highest-ranked player in the field, world number four Rin Yoshida of Japan. The group is scheduled to tee off at 8:36am on Thursday. Huang is paired with Vivian Lu of New Zealand and Jiyoo Lim of Korea and will tee off at 12:14pm in the first round.
In the first four editions, players from Thailand (Atthaya Thitikul), Japan (Yuka Yasuda and Mizuki Hashimoto) and Chinese Taipei (Ting-Hsuan Huang) have held aloft the sought-after trophy. The WAAP championship was developed by The R&A and the APGC to inspire future generations of women golfers. The R&A is supported by championship event partners that share its commitment to developing golf in the Asia-Pacific. The Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific championship is proudly supported by Rolex, Nippon Kabaya Ohayo Holdings, Hana Financial Group and Samsung.
For more information on the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific, visit the championship website at www.randa.org/WAAP.
The Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific championship
The Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific championship has been developed by the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC) and The R&A to nurture talent and provide a pathway for the region’s elite women amateurs to the international stage and the opportunity to play in three major championships.
The fifth edition of the region’s premier women’s championship will be played at the Singapore Island Country Club in Singapore from 9-12 March. The 2023 WAAP champion will earn starts in the AIG Women’s Open, The Amundi Evian Championship and The Chevron Championship as well as the Hana Financial Group Championship, ISPS Handa Australian Open and an invitation to play in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur (ANWA).
Year Host Club Champion
2018 Sentosa GC, Singapore Atthaya Thitikul (THA)
2019 The Royal GC, Japan Yuka Yasuda (JPN)
2020 (not contested)
2021 Abu Dhabi GC, UAE Mizuki Hashimoto (JPN)
2022 Siam Country Club, Thailand Ting-Hsuan Huang (CTE)
About The R&A
The R&A group of companies was formed in 2004 to take on The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews’ responsibilities for governing the Rules of Golf, staging The Open, golf’s original championship, and developing the sport. The World Golf Museum in St Andrews is part of The R&A group.
Together The R&A and the USGA govern the sport of golf worldwide, operating in separate jurisdictions with a commitment to a single code for the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status and Equipment Standards. The R&A, through R&A Rules Ltd, governs the sport worldwide, outside of the United States and Mexico, on behalf of over 41 million golfers in 145 countries and with the consent of 161 organisations from amateur and professional golf.
The R&A has responsibility for running a series of world class amateur events and international matches in women’s and girls’ as well as men’s and boys’ golf. The R&A stages the AIG Women’s Open and works with the DP World Tour to stage the Senior Open presented by Rolex.
The R&A is committed to investing £200 million over ten years in developing golf and supports the growth of the sport internationally, including the development and management of sustainable golf facilities. For more information, visit www.randa.org.
About the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation
The APGC is the representative body for 47 male and female national golf associations. Golf across Asia-Pacific is growing at a considerable rate with approximately 18 million golfers and 4,000 golf courses in the region. As well as acting as the hosting partner for major amateur events in the region, the APGC supports member organisations in the development of golf in their respective countries. The APGC also works to ensure adherence to the Rules of Golf as approved by The R&A, and partners with The Masters Tournament and the International Golf Federation in the promotion of golf.
For more information, please visit www.apgc.online.