the country’s biggest golf tournament in the country’s most lucrative sport, with a total of US$1.6 million (about Bt53 million) in prize money, successfully wrapped up after being held from 21 to 24 February at the Siam Country Club Pattaya, Old Course. Held under the theme of ‘Dream Big’ to inspire golfers from all backgrounds and skill levels to pursue their dreams in the world arena, the competition was joined by 70 world-class female players, including eight Thais.
Building on the success for that has defined the tournament since first being held in 2006, the 13th edition of the Honda LPGA Thailand attracted over 46,000 spectators, who turned out to enjoy the game and had fun vying for prizes and premium gifts of their own at booths set up by various sponsors at the venue. The Honda LPGA Thailand is growing in popularity year after year among Thai and foreign golf fans, and is an increasingly big-stakes, eagerly anticipated annual event supporting the country’s tourism industry, which promotes Thailand as a world-class golf destination in the region and the world.
Ahead of the tournament, ‘The Road to Honda LPGA Thailand 2019’ program was held, and included the inaugural National Qualifiers round to provide aspirant local golfers a special opportunity to play in an elite tournament and compete with the best women players from around the world, and the Young Ambassadors Seminar and Golf Leaders Conference Seminar, to promote sustainable golf in the kingdom. Additionally, during the tournament week, the Junior Golf Clinic facilitated the skill development of young Thai golfers, who learned from their elder peers. Furthermore, executives and lady golfers joined forces in the Honda LPGA Thailand CSR 2019 to renovate the playground and gardens of and donate books and educational supplies to nearby Kledkaew School, for the benefit of the greater community, as well as the ‘Photo Call’, in which invited LGPA golfers posed in Thai silk to promote Thai traditions, while the Honda LPGA Charity Night raised a good amount of funding for the Siriraj Foundation.
The Honda LPGA Thailand 2019 featured 70 elite female golfers, including 10 invitees. Joining the Honda LPGA for the tenth time and winning for the third time, following victories in 2015, 2017, was Amy Yang, 29, of South Korea. Her 22 under-par showing won her US$240,000 and tied the mark she set in here two years ago. The dynamic Korean player entered the record books as the first player to win the tournament for a third time, besting Australia’s Minjee Lee by a single stroke and Carlota Ciganda of Spain by two strokes, in one of the tournament’s most exciting finishes.
Hopeful of building on the momentum that led to her latest round of happy memories in Thailand, the Korean is now preparing to compete on home turf in the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, which she won in 2013. “I would like to thank my team, coach, and family, as well as staff and volunteer teams for making the event successful,” says Yang. “Most of all, thank you Honda Automobile (Thailand) Co., Ltd., the Sports Authority of Thailand, National Sports Development Fund, Tourism Authority of Thailand, and all sponsors for organizing this great tournament.”
The host country for the Honda LPGA Thailand 2019 was well represented by eight accomplished Thai lady golfers, namely Ariya Jutanugarn, Moriya Jutanugarn, Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras, Pornanong Phatlum, Pajaree Anannarukarn, Thidapa Suwannapura, Benyapa Niphatsophon, and Atthaya Thitikul. Finishing best among her compatriots – including her sister Ariya, who remains atop the LPGA rankings – was Moriya ‘Mo’ Jutanugarn, who says on behalf of all Thai players, “I am happy every time I have a chance to play in my homeland. I would like to thank all the organizers and sponsors and all fans for warmly cheering us on. And I can’t wait to compete again here again next year in Honda LPGA Thailand!”