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The first anniversary of when the Pro Tour Golf College seed was planted in Thailand has just passed. This weekend’s results of the Asian Tour’s Kings Cup sponsored by Singha and the Ladies European Tour’s Hero Women’s Indian Open seemed like a great opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved.
2012 saw a soft launch of Pro Tour Golf College Thailand, – working in conjunction with SMG and Singha – we ran a series of clinics and camps between April and December, with a total of 36 players experiencing the difference our training brings – at least 10 coming on multiple occasions. There has been a nice mix of experienced professionals, young amateurs, caddies and TV stars – but it is what has been achieved that is most impressive.
First to show improvement was Pro Sherry (Tiranan Yoopan). By her standards she had experienced a poor 2011 and hadn't got off to a great start in 2012 – that soon changed as she got back in the winners circle at the Singha Pattaya Open in May and followed this up with the biggest win of her career to date at the Technology Cup on the Taiwan LPGA.
Her score average for this period (playing more than 20 rounds) was 73.84 reduced from 75.96 in 2011 – Wow!
An illness and an overloaded tournament schedule saw a slight dip towards the end of the year but the lessons have been learnt and the importance of a planned schedule is now understood – making the cut at last weeks LET Hero Women’s Open ends the season on a high note.
In August Wisut Artjanawat came 3rd at The Thailand Open, narrowly missing out on the coveted prize that all golfers want – becoming the champion of your own National Open.
He personally sited the training results at PTGC that highlighted a weakness in his wedge play and the subsequent improvement in this area as a major factor in his improved performances.
He only missed this weeks Kings Cup as he was selected to represent Asia-Pacific in OneAsia’s Donfeng Nissan Cup where he claimed 2 out of 3 points in a 14½ to 9½ victory. All PTGC eyes will be following his fortunes next week at the Thailand Golf Championships!
Another to shine on the major tours just 2 weeks after her first experience of Pro Tour Golf College was Pro Tap (Jaruporn Palakawong Na Ayutthaya) finishing tied 13th at last weeks Hero Women’s Indian Open, a feet matched by the very impressive Pro Jasmine (Thidapa Suwannapura).
However her real story is the season she put together on the Symetra Tour, finishing 4th on the order of merit and securing her playing rights for 2013 on the LPGA Tour. An amazing effort and she will now make up a quartet of Thai players who will be plying their trade full-time on the biggest stage in women’s golf in 2013.
Our marquee player for 2012 has been Thammanoon Sriroj, 5 time winner on the Asian Tour. However the last few years haven’t seen the best of Thammanoon and a look at his numbers below shows why:
In 2011 his scoring average on the Asian Tour was 73.74 over 16 events, he broke 70 on just 3 occasions with a low score of 69, he never broke 70 twice in the same tournament. His highest finish was Tied 14th at the Philippine Open and he was exactly 50% for cuts made/missed, however he made just 1 cut in his last 6 events.
2012 didn't start much better. In the first 9 events of the season (prior to his first meeting with Pro Tour Golf College Thailand) his score average on the Asian Tour was 74.85, breaking 70 just once (68).
He made just 2 cuts with a highest finish of Tied 29th, again at the Philippine Open.
Since August, and his first meeting with PTGC, there has been a marked improvement. He has played in 8 tournaments; has made the cut in 5 of them recording a scoring average of 71.88, breaking 70 on 5 occasions, most importantly these have been strung together, with a double in Macau and 3 consecutive rounds at the Kings Cup (66, 68, 65) where he gained his first top 10 finish since 2009.
So what does this equate to in real terms i.e. Money!
Thammanoon has to be one of the most popular guys out there on tour, the good will towards seeing him return to form and competing to add to his 5 titles is quite humbling – lets hope he can continue what he has started in the last 8 events if so win number 6 won’t be such a crazy idea – another one we will be watching at this weeks Thailand Golf Championships.
Of course it is impossible to mention everyone we have worked with, however a quick look down the Kings Cup leader board shows PTGC Thailand well represented. Piya Swangarunporn had an outstanding tournament – especially considering he had spent Tuesday evening in Hospital with food poisoning – joining Thamanoon in the top 10! In tied 11th was Pawin Ingkhapradit who attended the original camp.
Further down at 26th was the level headed and consistent Panuwat Muenlek, whilst Rattanon Wannasrichan and Wittawat Sae-Ung both finished in the top 40.
Away from the spotlight of the major tours there were also notable performances on the Thai PGA Tour and All Thailand Tour from Sattaya Supuprami who won at Royal Hills and Passamet Pogamnerd, with Pavit Tankamolprasert close to securing his playing rights in Japan for 2013.
We also saw some great emerging talent from the junior ranks, especially in the women’s game – they have also have several victories to report.
With all of this Thai golf looks in very good hands and to that extent it would be amiss not to mention the inspirational Thai golfers that have made 2012 the best season Thailand has had so far.
In the ladies game the emergence of Pornanong Phatlum has been the shot in the arm we really needed, her victory earlier in the year at the HSBC Brazil cup (an unofficial LPGA event) quite rightly caused a storm, she proved this was no fluke with a 3 shot victory at last weeks LET Hero Women’s Indian Open – a title she has won twice before, however those victories were before it was sanctioned by the LET.
As mentioned earlier, next year sees a quartet of Thai’s challenging on the LPGA tour and with Pornanong leading the way more victories are inevitable.
For the men as usual honour are split between Thongchai Jaidee and Thaworn Wirachant – the later looking certain to claim his 2nd order of merit title on the Asian Tour, he also recorded victories 13, 14 and 15, making him the most decorated player in the tours history.
Whilst Thongchai got his first victory on European soil, a major achievement that should provide the inspiration and belief for the growing band of players following through – Be noted, Thai’s can compete and win at the highest level in any conditions.
Bring on 2013!
We will be extending our programs for 2013, but the places will be limited so get in quick.
Andrew Knott - Director of Instruction (+66 (0) 89 913 5392)
Pro Tour Golf College - Thailand