By THE NATION
There were 120 high-level players representing 17 nationalities, including seven Thais.
The competition helps decide membership for the 2019 season. Only the winner of the 72-hole stroke-play tournament can play the full season, while players who finish second through 12th earn guaranteed starts in the first six events. Finishers 13 through 35 and ties earn conditional status through the first six events.
Tour organisers were thrilled with the opportunity to work with Laguna Golf Phuket in bringing a world-class PGA-affiliated event to the area and to see new talented players emerge.
“We’ve watched numerous players show up at the qualifying tournaments and a year or two later they’re playing on the Web.com Tour and PGA Tour,” said PGA Tour Series-China Executive Director Greg Carlson.
“It’s at the qualifiers where many of them are beginning their professional journeys, and we recognise the talent that has come through our tour during its first four years.
“This is also a new chapter in the history of the tour as we stage an event away from Greater China for the first time,” Carlson said. “Playing in Thailand will provide players with a new cultural experience, while playing a tournament on a world-class golf course in one of the great resort cities in Southeast Asia.”
Architect Paul Jansen revamped and upgraded Laguna Golf Phuket in 2014. It features lagoons, native watergrasses and mature woodland.
The last International Federation of PGA Tours event held at Laguna was the Asian Development Tour’s 2018 Singha Laguna Phuket Open.