Phuket, Thailand: Laguna Golf Phuket was the scene of an historic victory for Bhitchayoot Sima-Aree in the third leg of the inaugural Junior Golf Tour of Asia (JGTA) season.
Displaying a steely nerve, Thai Bhitchayoot triumphed at the second hole of a sudden-death play-off against Taiwan’s Chen Yu-yu in the JGTA Phuket Junior Open.
Not only was it the first time a Thai has won a JGTA event, but it was also the first occasion extra-time was needed to produce a result. The play-off was streamed on Facebook Live in its entirety.
The JGTA is a series of elite junior events held across the Asia-Pacific region that offer American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Performance Based Eligibility (PBE) Status, AJGA playing opportunities, college golf development education, and college coach exposure to the next generation of prominent junior golfers.
“I want to thank the JGTA for running this event and Laguna Golf Phuket for allowing us to play this course,” said Bhitchayoot.
Making his JGTA debut, Bhitchayoot fired rounds of 75, 66 and a closing 72 for a 54-hole total of even-par 213 that was matched by Chen.
Two strokes back in third place among the boys was China’s Luo Xuan with Bangkok-based Conor Kelly, Thai Pongsapak Laopakdee and Taiwan’s Chen Ting-yu a further shot back in a share of fourth spot.
Natachanok Tunwannarux completed an excellent week for Thai players by winning the girls’ division at the venue which is a Golf Course Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
One of the youngest players in the field, Natachanok signed for scores of 74, 70 and 69 for an even-par tally of 213, three shots in front of overnight leader Camille Boyd.
“Thanks to the JGTA for providing a great competition and an opportunity to earn AJGA PBE status. I also want to thank my parents for supporting me and my golf goals” said Natachanok, who tied for second place at the JGTA Taiwan Junior Championship.
The final event on the JGTA’s 2017-2018 schedule, the JGTA Myanmar Junior Championship is schedule to take place at Yangon’s Pun Hlaing Golf Club from May 8-11.
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