Bangkok, Thailand: The pressure will be off for Putt Sridama when he tees-off the defence of his Faldo Series Thailand Championship trophy this weekend.
A three-stroke winner last year, Putt enters the fray secure in the knowledge that however he may fare at Panorama Golf and Country Club he’s already assured a place in the ninth Faldo Series Asia Grand Final.
That’s thanks to the fact that the 16-year-old swept to victory in the Faldo Series Cambodia Championship in July, thus guaranteeing himself a return ticket to Mission Hills Shenzhen next March.
Thus Putt finds himself in the unusual situation of being able to perform on home soil without having to worry unduly about the consequences.
Nonetheless, another victory would do no harm to Putt’s confidence ahead of the 2014-2015 Faldo Series Asia Grand Final – an R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event – to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo.
In total, more than 60 of the country’s brightest young players will tee-off at Panorama with hopes of accompanying Putt to the Grand Final.
Among those expected to contend in the 36-hole qualifier are Varut Kajonkittisakul, runner-up to Putt last season, and Kritchayapol Sinchai.
In the Girls’ category, 17-year-old Bunyaporn Zeng will attempt to retain her title with Patranit Chuaychoo and Suthavee Chanachai likely to challenge.
Six-time Major champion Sir Nick, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “For the past 10 years, Thailand has produced many outstanding young male and female players who have gone on to achieve success among the ranks of the professionals.
“This year marks the seventh edition of the Faldo Series Thailand Championship and I’m delighted it continues to be an important event on the local golfing calendar and helps to act as a stepping stone into the big time.
“I’m excited also to see the emergence of the latest crop of Thai golfers. I’m certain there will be some stars of the future among them.”
Formerly known as Voyage Panorama Resort and Golf Club, the course is a short drive from Khao Yai National Park and is characterised by its many rock ravines.
Supported by The R&A, ISPS and Mission Hills and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2014-15 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months and is made up of 20 championships.