Local players can't wait for the show to start

Local players can't wait for the show to start

Thai LPGA Tour set for return next week

Athijit Teeravattanasak practises before the Thai LPGA Tour season resumes next week.
Athijit Teeravattanasak practises before the Thai LPGA Tour season resumes next week.

Golfers are happy and excited that the Thai LPGA Tour is returning next week after a long break.

The tour will resume at Royal Hua Hin Golf Course in Hua Hin from July 8-10 after a four-month halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government last month allowed sports competitions to restart without spectators, and the Ladies Professional Golf Association of Thailand (Thai LPGA) has released its new schedule for the remainder of the season.

The season was suspended in February after just one tournament -- the Singha-SAT Thai LPGA Championship at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Golf and Country Club.

The revised schedule features eight tournaments with a total purse of 13.8 million baht.

Each or the first seven has a total of 1.4 million baht in prize money, while the eighth -- the season-ending Thailand LPGA Masters in November -- offers a total prize fund of four million baht.

While the Thai LPGA's guidelines of safety protocols to combat the coronavirus needs approval from the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and the Tourism and Sports Ministry, officials believe this should not be a problem.

"We are very happy and excited that we will be able to compete again after a long wait," said Chonlada Chayanun, who won two titles and the Order of Merit award last year.

The 26-year-old added: "With the official announcement of the schedule, we now have a clear target and know when we will play. I first thought the season would resume in August. We will be able to play sooner than we expected. It is a surprise."

Golfer and model Athijit Teeravattanasak said she practised hard and worked on her fitness during the coronavirus outbreak.

Chonlada Chayanun plays in a tournament this year.

"I am happy to play golf again after a long break," said Athijit.

She admitted that being a model makes it tough for her to be competitive in golf.

"But golf is a sport I love, so I will do my best," she said.

Athijit plans to play all tournaments in the country as it is difficult to go abroad.

Former LPGA Tour player Patcharajutar Kongkraphan said that it is great that tournament golf is making a return.

"Golf is my career,'' said the 28-year-old. "I hope everything returns to normal soon."

Pinyada Kuvanan, who turned pro last year, said she was excited to get a chance to compete again but admitted that she may not be ready mentally after a long break.

"I am a bit excited because we have not played golf for almost five months," she said.

Pinyada intended to play on the Symetra Tour (the LPGA Tour's development circuit) in the US but Covid-19 forced her to change her plans.

She will now play on the domestic tour for the rest of the season.

The Thai LPGA Tour will be the third women's golf circuit to resume after a halt.

The KLPGA Tour in South Korea resumed in May with the KLPGA Championship while the JLPGA Tour in Japan started last week.

The US-based LPGA Tour is scheduled to return at the new Drive On Championship in Ohio from July 31-Aug 2.

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