On a windy day at Siam Country Club’s Pattaya Old Course, American Lilia Vu emerged victorious at the Honda LPGA Thailand, winning by one shot over 54-hole Thai leader Natthakritta Vongtaveelap.
Thai 20-year-old rookie Vongtaveelap struggled to stay steady under pressure on day four in Chonburi, Thailand, while her close friend two-time LPGA Tour winner Atthaya Thitikul came in 3rd.
Although Natthakritta as a sponsors invite did not gain any CME LPGA points, she still came away with a handy US$157,780.
Perhaps the real winner however was Thai golf as thousands of budding young female Thai golfers packed the course to cheer on their idols.
The Siam Country Club’s Old Course broke all attendance records, with nearly 50,000 attending over the four days.
Naturally many came to see Natthkritta and her close friend Atthaya try to win for Thailand.
In fact, there were ten Thais in the field of 72 with another LPGA rookie Jaravee Boonchant finishing T17 and popular Thai veteran Pornanong Phatlum finishing T27.
Pattaya was packed as many Japanese and Koreans also flew in to support their countrywomen.
This was also a great advert for Thailand’s golf industry with the Tourism Authority of Thailand sponsoring the tournament.
International golf vaccinations provide a vital income for the country’s tourist industry, and now they are encouraging golfers from India and SE Asian countries to come to play golf on the 260 courses across Thailand.
Amateur golf tournaments are also now becoming very popular. Leading Asian Golf tour operator Golfasian https://www.golfasian.com/events/ will be organising several major events in 2023 in Hua Hin and Pattaya.
Thais know how to put on a major Golf Event in style and Siam Country Club Old Course didn’t disappoint the thousands of fans at the course or the millions watching on TV around the world.
With so many young Thais now playing on the LPGA and Ladies’ European Tour in 2023, expect to see an explosion of young female golfers taking up the sport in the country known as The Land of Smiles.