MENA Tour breaks new ground with first 72-hole event in Thailand
May 16, 2017 06:24 By The Nation
Meesawat headlines a strong field for Pattana Golf Championship
CHON BURI (Thailand), May 15 — The MENA Tour breaks new ground this week when Pattana Golf Club and Resort hosts the tour’s first 72-hole event in a perfect climax to the tour’s three-event swing in Thailand.
The air is thick with anticipation as the event, which will see the upscale resort make its debut a host venue of the tour, will carry more Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points than the tour’s usual 54-hole tournaments, further spicing up the competition.
With Thai ace Prom Meesawat joining the starting line-up for the first time, the Pattana Golf Championship, starting from Tuesday, will have a strong flavour, but things could change in a hurry as he will up against a deeply talented field which includes a slew of potential winners.
Meesawat, a 32-year-old Hua Hin native, racked up a creditable tied 13th at the European Tour’s Hero Indian Open and tied 15th at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic this year and will be keen to keep up the good work when he tees it alongside a strong field, represented by players from 25 countries.
Thai players lead the chart with 33 entries, including three amateurs, closely followed by England (32), India (14) and South Africa (11) in refection of the tour’s growing popularity in Thailand and beyond.
Notables in the field, who will be aiming to step up to the plate and challenge Meesawat for honours, include, England’s Zane Scotland, a 10-time.
winner on the tour, Luke Joy, who finished runner-up at last week’s Mountain Creek Open by Golf Citizen, Lee Corfield and Craig Hinton, who all have strung together impressive streaks on the tour.
English cricketer-turned-golfer Craig Kieswetter and UAE Ahmed Al Musharrekh are also in fray, hoping to make amends for missing the cut last week along with Spain’s Leo Lilja, the winner of the MENA Tour’s season-opening Palmeraie Country Club Casablanca Open in Morocco earlier this year.
Switzerland’s Dubai-based Michael Harradine and Thailand’s Worathon Zeng will lead the challenge in the amateur division that has attracted nine entries. Harradine topped the division on six-under 210 last week while Zeng had reigned supreme at the MahaSamutr Masters, the MENA Tour’s opening event on the Thailand swing, their impressive showing raising the prospects of another intriguing duel.
“We are very excited to be part of the MENA Tour. It will provide us with a great opportunity to showcase our championship course to a field which wears a global look,” said Rujirapun Juangroongruangkit, Executive Vice President of Pattana Golf Club.
“We look forward to welcoming MENA Tour members and I am confident they will have a memorable experience playing on our course which is in great condition.”
Mohamed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the MENA Tour, thanked the Pattana Golf Club and Resort management for supporting the event, saying: “We couldn’t have asked for a better venue to stage our landmark 72-hole tournament. I am confident it will become a permanent stop on the tour.
“With an impressive portfolio of world-class courses, Thailand has already established its credentials as one of the most popular golf destinations in the world and the addition of a new Mena Tour event at Pattana will further realise the country’s huge tourism potential.”
Located a mere 90 minutes from Bangkok, Pattana Golf Club and Resort boasts a full range of premium accommodations and amenities, meeting and event facilities, championship 27-hole golf course, and 7,000 capacity stadium.
Set up in 2004 by D. Somporn Juangroongruangkit in memory of her husband who established the Thai Summit Group, the Pattana layout, highlighted by a mixture of well-placed trees, bunkers and exciting greens, tests every aspect of the game.
An initiative of the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation, the MENA Golf Tour was created in 2011 with the aim of developing golf in the region. It is affiliated to R&A, the worldwide golf governing body based in the home of golf, St Andrews, and the Arab Golf Federation and enjoys the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status.
A guaranteed spot on the PGA Tour’s 2018 DEAN & DELUCA Invitational (for the MENA Tour champion), multiple European Tour starts, including the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the Hassan II Trophy, Maybank Championship, Malaysia, and the KLM Open, are some of the added incentives that await MENA Tour members, in addition to playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour, and exemptions into the Final Stage of the Sunshine Tour and Asian Tour Q-Schools.