Thai amateurs earn Pattaya invitations

Thai amateurs earn Pattaya invitations

Amateurs Budsabakorn Sukapan and Sherman Santhiwiwatthanaphong have received invitations to play at the star-studded Honda LPGA Thailand, organisers said yesterday.

Sherman Santhiwiwatthanaphong, right, and Paphangkorn Tavatanakit.

The US$1.5 million tournament will be held at Siam Country Club in Pattaya from Feb 26-Mar 1.

Chiang Rai-born Budsabakorn, the country's top female amateur, was in the Thai team which won gold at last year's Asian Games in South Korea where she also claimed silver in the individual event.

In all, seven Thais will play at the 70-player tournament.

Pornanong Phatlum and Moriya Jutanugarn have earned spots through their LPGA money rankings at the end of last year.

Ariya Jutanugarn, Thidapa Suwannapura and amateur Paphangkorn Tavatanakit have been invited.

Unfortunately, 17-year-old Lydia Ko, who become the youngest ever world No.1 this week, is not available for the Pattaya event because she has chosen to play in her country at the New Zealand Women's Open on the same week.

The other top-10 players have confirmed their participation — Park In-Bee, Stacy Lewis, Feng Shanshan, Suzann Pettersen, Michelle Wie, Ryu So-Yeon, Kim Hyo-Joo, Karrie Webb and Lexi Thompson who are ranked from No.2 to No.10 respectively.

No.12 Choi Na-Yeon of South Korea, who won the season-opening Coates Golf Championship in Florida on Saturday, will play in the Honda LPGA for a sixth time.

No.13 Anna Nordqvist of Sweden will defend the title she won by two shots last year.

Honda Automobile (Thailand) COO Pitak Pruittisarikorn said his company has supported the tournament for nine years and that fans should again enjoy watching world-class players.

Palakorn Somsuwan, managing director of Bangkok Broadcasting and TV (Channel 7), said the tournament should again attract large crowds with 40,000 fans watching it during the week last year.

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