Eleven Thais to join title fray

Eleven Thais to join title fray

Honda LPGA will see top four of the world

Thai golfer Atthaya Thitikul poses during a press conference yesterday.
Thai golfer Atthaya Thitikul poses during a press conference yesterday.

The top four players in the world will lead the field at the Honda LPGA Thailand in Pattaya later this month, organisers said yesterday.

The quartet are world No.1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand, No.2 Nelly Korda of the US, No.3 Minjee Lee of Australia and No.4 Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand.

The 72-player event offers a total purse of US$1.7 million (62 million baht) and will be held at Siam Country Club.

The Feb 23-26 tournament will welcome back spectators to the venue after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Denmark's Nanna Koerstz Madsen will defend the title she won last year after defeating China's Lin Xiyu in a play-off.

Two-time major winner Brooke Henderson, American star Jessica Korda and Nasa Hataoka from Japan will also compete in the event.

In all, 11 Thais will take part in the tournament, which was launched in 2006.

They include 2022 LPGA rookie of the year Atthaya, major winners Ariya Jutanugarn and Patty Tavatanakit, Moriya Jutanugarn, Pajaree Anannarukarn, Pornanong Phatlum, Wichanee Meechai, Jaravee Boonchant, Chanettee Wannasaen, Arpichaya Yubol and Natthakritta Vongtaveelap, winner of the qualifying round.

Atthaya, 19, won two tournaments and briefly held the world No.1 ranking last year.

"The Honda LPGA Thailand is an important tournament for Thai players. I first watched the tournament when I was nine years old. I competed in the tournament for the first time in 2017," she told a press conference.

"I'm excited that I will play in the tournament for the fifth time this year. I will do my very best to make my fans and Thailand proud. I hope that I can be an inspiration for young golfers."

Atthaya came close to winning the Honda LPGA Thailand in 2021 when she was runner-up behind Ariya, who remains the only Thai to have won the event.

Ko said she was looking forward to playing in her first tournament of the year.

"I love playing in Thailand, and the Honda LPGA Thailand will be the first LPGA event I will play at the beginning of 2023," she said in a press release.

It will also be her first tournament as a wife after she got married in December.

Olympic champion Nelly Korda will return to Thailand for the first time since 2019.

"It's exciting to be back in Asia. I am looking forward to playing my best and having this tournament be part of what I hope to be a very successful 2023 season," she said.

Pitak Pruittisarikorn, chairman of the Board of Honda Automobile (Thailand) Co, said: "We are ready to welcome back players and fans from around the world in full force."

The tournament will be televised live on PPTV HD.

Tickets are available at www.hondalpgathailand.com.

Do you like the content of this article?

Officer surrenders

A senior immigration officer, a fourth and final suspect wanted for the abduction and cryptocurrency extortion of a Chinese man and his Thai interpreter, turned himself in to police in Pattaya.


Thai AirAsia X refund plan set to be submitted soon

Thai AirAsia X expects to submit a rehabilitation plan by mid-April, compensating all passengers affected by Covid-19 within the next 4-5 months.


China warned against choosing new Dalai Lama

DHARAMSALA, India: The president of the Tibetan government-in-exile has warned China not to interfere in selecting the successor to the Dalai Lama, the current spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism.