Thai legend Thongchai Jaidee will again host the Bt4 million (US$123,000) event staged at his hometown Lop Buri course, where he grew up and learned how to play.
Jointly sanctioned by the ADT and the All Thailand Golf Tour, the event was first held by Thongchai in 2015 with the intention of providing more playing opportunities for the region’s rising stars as well as to draw attention to his charitable foundation.
Countryman Kiradech Aphibarnrat, currently ranked 38th in the world, first lifted the prestigious trophy in 2015 and compatriot Chapchai Nirat, a four-time Asian Tour winner, staged a sensational comeback the following year, when he overcame a four-shot deficit to win by six shots.
Thongchai, a three-time Asian Tour No 1 and an eight-time winner on the European Tour, spoke of his excitement at the return of the event which he hopes will continue to unearth new Thai talent.
“I formed the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation in 2009 to give access to the game of golf to the underprivileged,” said the 13-time Asian Tour winner. “I have achieved so much in my career and I just want to give back to the golfing community.
“Thailand has produced world-class players like Kiradech, who was the Asian Tour No 1 in 2013 and has become the first Thai to earn a full PGA Tour card. I hope sponsors will continue to support events like these and encourage the growth of talent in the region.”
Jakraphong Thongyai, Commissioner of the All Thailand Golf Tour, said: “We are thrilled to sanction this event again with the ADT for our rising talents to improve on their skills. It is great to see accomplished golfers like Thongchai giving back to the game and we hope the event will inspire young people to pick up the sport.”
Methee Sudasna Na Ayudhaya, President of the Thailand Professional Golf Association, also showed his full support for the event, adding: “I am glad to have the return of the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation 2019 on the ADT that will provide more playing opportunities for Thai and international golfers.”
A total of 156 players will feature in the popular event, with 36 invites and the remaining field split between the ADT and the All Thailand Golf Tour.
As part of Thongchai’s efforts to give back to his hometown, a welcome party in which players are being encouraged to wear traditional Thai costume has been organised on February 12 at the Chao Phraya Wichayen Palace.
The leading seven players on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn the right to play on the premier Asian Tour next year.
All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points – the winner will receive six points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.