A Bright Future Ahead!
The 2017 season has been very eventful so far!
There have been many exciting developments behind the scenes on the Tour and the front lines in our tournaments.
In my last column, we welcomed Panasonic as a new Tour Partner and launched the Panasonic Swing at the Thailand Open. The tournament was won by 21-year old Thai Rattanon Wannasrichan, who clinched his National Open with a cool-headed final round 67 to finish 21-under-par for the tournament and win by two shots. Rattanon fended off a gallant effort by India’s Shiv Kapur who hit 10 birdies in a final round charge of 63.
Then the following week, another talented Thai - Sutijet Kooratanapisan wrote a slice of history when he shot the first ever 59 on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) at the Singha Phuket Open. No player has ever shot a 59 on either the ADT or on the Asian Tour, so it was apt that we’ve nicknamed Sutijet – “Mr. 59”. It wasn’t an easy feat but hopefully we see more of our members shooting low numbers in future tournaments!
By the time you are reading this, the Queen’s Cup would have concluded. The prestigious event returned on our schedule for the ninth edition with a record prize purse of US$500,000!
In March, we announced our return into China through a Strategic Partnership with the China Golf Association (CGA) and I’m pleased to inform the readers that we are close to staging an Asian Tour tournament in the country. We are getting excited to return to China and this good news can’t come soon enough to make 2017 even better!
During the middle of May, I had the opportunity to attend the BMW PGA Championship in Wentworth where we conducted a series of productive meetings with the European Tour and Sunshine Tour. You can expect us to make another tournament announcement soon.
Jeff Kimble recently joined us as our new Commercial Director. Working in tandem with our strategic alliance partners at the European Tour, we are in the midst of re-shaping our commercial program with the ambition to attract more sponsors to further expand the Asian Tour and ADT schedules. Asian golf has huge potential to attract new partners who share our goal to grow the game across the region.
Following all of the recent developments, there is a lot of positive energy on the Asian Tour. I’m proud to be working together with such an enthusiastic and passionate team, as we constantly strive to best serve the players. We are now gearing up for the back half of the season. I’m proud to say that nearly every week from August to December is filled with tournaments!
These are very exciting times for the Asian Tour and we greatly appreciate your on-going support.
Sutijet Kooratanapisan aka Mr. 59