Thai golf boosted by fourth Tour event
Thailand's reputation as a hub for golf was burnished on Monday after Asian Tour organisers said they will add the new Chiang Mai Golf Classic to the schedule next year, a fourth event for the kingdom.
The inaugural tournament will star some of Asia's best players including Thai heroes Thongchai Jaidee and Thaworn Wiratchant – the tour's current Order of Merit leader – the Asian Tour said in a statement.
Thongchai, the only player to win three Order of Merit crowns, hailed the Chiang Mai event as "a wonderful development for the game" showing "the growing strength of the Asian Tour".
Thailand's players have enjoyed a strong season this year with Thaworn topping the tour money list with one event to play, Prom Meesawat in sixth and Chapchai Nirat in ninth.
There was more good news on Sunday after 20-year-old Thitiphun Chuayprakong came joint-second in the Thailand Golf Championship behind 2011 US Masters winner Charl Schwartzel and tied with this year's Augusta victor Bubba Watson.
"The launch of a new event is fantastic and exciting for the Asian Tour and our players. It will have a positive effect on the game here and inject new impetus for many more great players to emerge from the Kingdom," tour executive chairman Kyi Hla Han said.
The event, which will have a $750 000 purse, will be held between March 28-31 at the Alpine Golf Resort-Chiang Mai, joining the Queen's Cup, King's Cup and Thailand Golf Championship on the Asian Tour calendar.