Thailand knows how to put on a show, and the top LPGA players were all on display at the Honda LPGA Thailand this weekend. With virtually all the star names in contention, the Siam Country Club in Pattaya provided the perfect backdrop to kick off the 2011 LPGA tour season in style.
This popular tournament was launched in 2006 when a certain Miss Hee-Won Han from South Korea won the inaugural event. Since then the likes of Suzann Petersen from Norway, Lorena Ochoa from Mexico and Ai Miyazato from Japan have all held the coveted trophy.
Add star names such as Natalie Gulbis, Paula Creamer and crowd favourite Michelle Wie, and you can understand why the sponsors offered a massive US$1.8million in prize money. Held at the Siam Country Club Old Course, a par 72 playing 6,477 yards for the girls, the players all commented on how perfect the fairways and greens were playing.
With most sports suffering during the recent economy down, the golf industry has turned to the East for its future. Mike Whan, the LPGA Commissioner said, ‘The LPGA has gained several events in Asia this year, and seems to be headed in the right direction. With the support we get in Thailand, we really can bring over the big stars. The coverage the event gets for Thailand golf is truly global.’
Thailand featured nine players in the tournament and in fact 15-year-old Thai amateur Ariya Jutanugarn turned in the best round of the final day with a 4-under-par 67.
Perhaps the biggest winner will once again be all of golf in Thailand and especially, Thailand's Golf In A Kingdom.