Thai stars ready to vie for Boonchu title

Thai stars ready to vie for Boonchu title

Boonchu Ruangkit, centre, speaks at yesterday's press conference.
Boonchu Ruangkit, centre, speaks at yesterday's press conference.

A large number of Thailand's leading players, led by Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Thongchai Jaidee, will compete at this week's Boonchu Ruangkit Championship in Nakhon Ratchasima.

The season-ending tournament of both the All Thailand Golf Tour (ATGT) and Asian Development Tour (ADT) will take place at Rancho Charnvee Resort and Country Club starting on Thursday.

At the end of the event, the top-five players on the ADT Order of Merit will earn Asian Tour cards for 2018 while the ATGT's money champion will get a spot at next month's Singapore Open, sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation.

The fourth edition of the tournament, which was launched in honour of legendary golfer Boonchu Ruangkit, has a purse of four million baht, up from 3.5 million baht last year.

The winner will take home 700,000 baht.

The 61-year-old Boonchu, who has won five Asian Tour titles and five European Senior Tour crowns, said he was proud to see the tournament grow.

"The purpose of staging this event is to help support the development of our up and coming young players. I want to provide them with an opportunity to compete against the best in the region. It's heartening to see how the tournament has grown with the boost in prize money over the past few years," Boonchu said yesterday.

ATGT commissioner Jakraphong Thongyai said: "We are delighted to continue our partnership with the ADT, which has established itself as a wonderful platform for the region's rising stars to showcase their talents and launch their careers onto the Asian Tour.

"We hope the Thai golfers will take full advantage of these playing opportunities to gain experience and advance their careers. We look forward to welcoming a strong line-up of international and regional golfers from the ADT to this season finale."

Last year, Thailand's Danthai Boonma won after a fourth play-off hole against countryman Jazz Janewattananond to claim his first ADT title.

He was the third consecutive Thai champion of the tournament following Raththee Sirithanakunsak and Phachara Khongwatmai.

Apart from Kiradech and Thongchai, the other Thais in this year's field include Danthai, Jazz, Phachara, Thaworn Wiratchant, Prayad Marksaeng, Prom Meesawat, Gunn Charoenkul and Namchok Tantipokakul.

Meanwhile, Malaysia's Gavin Green was named the Asian Tour players' player of the year to cap off a fantastic 2017 season where he also won the Order of Merit crown.

Green won his first Asian Tour title at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters and finished second three times.

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