Laguna Phuket has become the joint title sponsor of an All Thailand Golf Tour professional event to be held on the award-winning course in May.
The 2018 Singha Laguna Phuket Open, a repeat of last year’s highly successful inaugural event, will be held from 9-13 May as a co-sanctioned Asian Development Tour event with Laguna Golf Phuket and Singha Corporation as headline sponsors.
The top five players will be eligible to compete in selected Asian Tour tournaments.
While a repeat of the 2017 event’s exceptional scoring – including a 59 by Sutijet Kooratanapisan – is less likely due to toughening of the layout, low scores and plenty of excitement are anticipated on the popular course within the Laguna Phuket resort.
The THB 2 million prizemoney event is one of 10 on the All Thailand Golf Tour (ATGT) calendar in 2018 and one of 23 Asian Development Tour tournaments.
This year is the 20th anniversary of the ATGT, which has fostered many of Thailand’s best players, such as Kiradech Aphibarnrat, currently ranked 40 in the world, to become international stars.
Laguna Golf Phuket’s assistant vice president and group golf director, Paul Wilson, says feedback from last year’s tournament resulted in course enhancements, including the removal of some bunkers and the addition of new tee boxes. Fairways are being narrowed and rough enhanced for the 2018 tournament.
“There was an immediate increase in domestic and regional visitors to the course and resort following the 2017 tournament, aided by live TV coverage in Thailand and highlights packages aired in 19 other countries.”
Laguna Golf Phuket is a drawcard for golf visitors to Phuket from Thailand and around the world. It has twice been awarded the mantle of Thailand’s best golf course and in 2016 was named Asia’s best golf course at the World Golf Awards in Portugal.
All Thailand Golf Tour commissioner, Jakraphong Thongyai, says the Singha Laguna Phuket Open offers another opportunity for young professional and amateur golfers to test their skills against peers on a highly attractive, risk-and-reward course.
“It provides another venue for up-and-coming stars of the future. They are all very excited to compete in such an appealing location,” he says.
Asian Tour chief operating officer, Cho Minn Thant, who attended the ATGT 2018 season launch in Bangkok last week, says the addition of Phuket to the Asian Development Tour schedule has been a major boost for players.
“Phuket is an awesome destination. Players love going there, especially as some tournaments are on the outskirts of major centres, whereas Phuket is internationally recognised and highly regarded.
“We also have good memories from the Singha Thailand Open held at the same course in 2009, before it was remodelled. We are again looking forward to some low scoring again this year. It is also great that recreational golfers who play at Laguna Golf Phuket will be able to see how the pros play the course.”