Seven Asian Tour cards and Bt14m on of­fer in Bangkok

The Nation - - SPORT -

THE HIGHLY-RATED Boonchu Ruangkit Cham­pi­onship will raise the cur­tain on the new Asian Devel­op­ment Tour (ADT) sea­son when it gets un­der­way from Jan­uary 10 to 13 next year.

As­pir­ing golfers from across the re­gion will be­gin their bat­tle for the seven cov­eted Asian Tour cards on of­fer for the 2020 sea­son when the pop­u­lar event re­turns to the Ran­cho Charn­vee Re­sort and Coun­try Club, on the out­skirts of Bangkok.

An at­trac­tive prize purse of Bt4 mil­lion (US$121,700) will once again be on of­fer to the 156-man field in the event launched by Thai leg­end Boonchu Ruangkit, who hopes to give back to the game by pro­vid­ing play­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for play­ers in the re­gion.

The event was first held as a “bonus” event on the re­gion’s se­condary cir­cuit in Jan­uary 2015, when Thai­land’s Raththee Sirithanakun­sak emerged vic­to­ri­ous.

It re­turned as the sea­son fi­nale and an Or­der-of-Merit count­ing event in De­cem­ber that same year, when Thai prodigy Phachara Khong­wat­mai sen­sa­tion­ally won the ti­tle to claim the fifth and fi­nal Asian Tour card on of­fer.

The pres­ti­gious tro­phy has been kept on home soil since as Dan­thai Boonma and Nam­chok Tan­tipokhakul both pre­vailed in play­offs to win the 2016 and 2017 edi­tions re­spec­tively.

Boonchu, who has won five Asian Tour ti­tles and is also a five-time win­ner on the Euro­pean Se­nior Tour, ex­pressed his de­light in the re­turn of his tour­na­ment as the sea­son-opener for the 2019 ADT sea­son.

“It is a huge hon­our to be host­ing again on the ADT,” he says. “I hope to boost the devel­op­ment of golf in Thai­land as well as pro­vide more play­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for as­pir­ing tal­ent through the stag­ing of this event.

“I be­lieve that the ADT is a great platform for play­ers to nur­ture their games and pre­pare them­selves for the higher lev­els of golf.

“Ni­tithorn Thip­pong and Varanyu Rat­tanaphi­boonkij have both earned their cards on the Asian Tour for the 2019 sea­son fol­low­ing their wins this year and I hope more Thai golfers will be in­spired by their feats.”

Asian Tour Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer Cho Minn Thant said: “On be­half of the ADT, I would like to ex­press our grat­i­tude to­wards Boonchu and the All Thai­land Golf Tour for their ded­i­ca­tion to the devel­op­ment of golf in the re­gion. We are thrilled to be back in Thai­land to kick off an­other ex­cit­ing sea­son on the ADT.” Launched in 2010 as the gate­way to the re­gion’s pre­mier Tour, the ADT has served as a suc­cess­ful platform for those hop­ing to make it on the big­ger stage.

With Asian Tour cards also up for grabs for the top seven fin­ish­ers on the ADT Or­der of Merit, play­ers will be hop­ing to get a head-start on the merit race.

Cham­pion Nam­chok Tan­tipokhakul.

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