Thongchai Strengthening Solid Foundations

Tournament host Thongchai Jaidee. Picture by Paul Lakatos/Asian Tour.

Lopburi, Thailand: The Thongchai Jaidee Foundation makes a welcome return to the Asian Development Tour (ADT) this week for its fourth edition.

Thai legend Thongchai Jaidee will assume responsibility as tournament host at the ฿4 million (about US$123,000) event staged in his hometown of Lopburi at the 13th Military Circle Golf Course, where he grew up playing golf.

Jointly sanctioned by the ADT and the All Thailand Golf Tour, the event was inaugurated 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, lifted the trophy in 2015. Fellow-Thai Chapchai Nirat, a four-time Asian Tour winner, staged a sensational comeback the following year, overcoming a four-shot deficit to win by six shots.

Thongchai, a three-time Asian Tour number one and an eight-time winner on the European Tour, expressed his excitement for the return of the event (February 14-17) which he hopes will continue to unearth new talents from Thailand.

“I formed the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation in 2009 to give access to the game of golf to the under-privileged. I have achieved so much in my career and I just want to give back to the golfing community that shaped my career.

“Thailand has produced world class players like Kiradech, who was the Asian Tour number one 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 talents in the region,” said the 13-time Asian Tour winner.

“We look forward to staging another successful edition of the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation 2019 with the support of Thongchai and his Foundation, to provide a platform for aspiring professionals to compete against the best,” said Cho Minn Thant, Chief Operating Officer of the Asian Tour, a Full Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.

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, added: “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 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 will take place today at the Chao Phraya Wichayen Palace, where players are encouraged to wear Thailand’s traditional costume.

The leading seven players on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn playing rights on the Asian Tour for the 2020 season.

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