Thailand hailed as emerging golf superpower
Leading international golf sponsor HSBC has hailed Thailand as the emerging superpower in women’s golf following red hot performances from three of its golfers at this week’s HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore.
Teenage sisters Ariya and Moriya Jutanagarn and 23-year-old Pornanong Phatlum all finished in the Top 15 at the showpiece event often referred to as “Asia’s major”.
Leading the charge was HSBC sponsor’s pick Ariya Jutanagarn, 17, who finished fourth behind winner Stacy Lewis with a final score of -10. The Bangkok-born player is making a huge name for herself in her first season as a pro having already clocked up two runner-up positions at a Ladies European Tour in Australia and at last week’s Honda LPGA event in her home country.
Sister Moriya, an LPGA rookie at 18, only received the call-up when South Korean star Se Ri Pak withdrew at the last minute but took full advantage, finishing tied 14th with a score of -5. She finished tied fourth at the Australian Open last week.
And 23-year-old Pornanong Phatlum also took the eye with a score of -7 to finish in tenth place. She made a big impression with sponsors HSBC when she won their LPGA Brasil Cup event last May.
HSBC Head of Global Sponsorship and Events Giles Morgan said: “This is an incredible result for Thailand and strongly suggests they can be the next superpower in women’s golf - the Jutanagarn sisters have taken the game by storm this year.
“The reason we chose Ariya as one of our sponsor invitations is because we saw she had huge potential but to realize it so quickly in such world class company is a massive achievement – she came very close in Thailand last week and her performance at our flagship event this week has had us all on the edge of our seats.
“Moriya has also made a flying start to the year and, of course, we know Pornanong from her impressive win at our Brasil Cup event in Rio last year.
“We’re very proud of the tough qualification criteria for this event and the fact the tournament attracted 37 of the top 40 on the LPGA moneylist representing 17 different nationalities really highlights the achievement of the three players from Thailand.
“One of the reasons we first came to Singapore in 2008 is because we saw the stars rising in the East. We all know South Korea continues to lead the way and China is of course making great progress but this year, and this week in particular, have opened the door for a bright future for women’s golf in Thailand.
“HSBC has spent almost ten years sponsoring youth development and grassroots programmes across Asia and this support is really starting to bear fruit.”
Ariya Junatagarn added: “This year has been better than we could have hoped for and it’s great for me and Moriya and of course women’s golf in Thailand in general. Pornanong played well too and it really feels like the start of something special – if we can help take Thai golf to the next stage then we’ll all be very happy.”
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