Hua Hin, Thailand: All eyes will be focused on Ratchanon ‘TK’ Chantananuwat when the talented Thai golfer defends his Faldo Series Hua Hin title this weekend.
Nicknamed TK and touted as one of Thailand’s latest golfing prodigies, Ratchanon makes a welcome return to Banyan Golf Club in the second in a series of three Faldo Series qualifiers staged in conjunction with international schools in Thailand.
At last year’s inaugural Hua Hin event, the Shrewsbury International School Bangkok student upstaged his elder rivals en route to winning the combined Boys’ Under-13 and Boys’ Under-16 categories at the award-winning Banyan venue, a Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
Now aged 13, it’s a performance he’s looking to replicate as he continues to add to his international reputation and a collection of trophies that includes a 2013 success in the Boys’ Under-Six age group at the IMG Golf Academy Junior World Championship in San Diego.
Four years later, when aged 10, he returned Stateside and once more ruled the roost, this time claiming top honours in the 9-10 Boys Division.
While Ratchanon is among the favourites in the boys’ segment, Lisa Zhang is expected to feature prominently in the girls’ category.
Zhang marked the resumption of the Faldo Series Asia (FSA) at Pattana Golf Resort last month with a winning performance in the Faldo Series Pattaya that saw her gain global recognition on The R&A’s World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR).
For the first time, all three legs of the 2020-21 FSA’s innovative qualifying process in Thailand have been extended to 54 holes, thus ensuring valuable WAGR points are allocated to the leading players.
Combined performances of players in those tournaments in Pattaya, Hua Hin and Phuket will be reflected in an Order of Merit from which five age-group category winners will progress to the 15th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Vietnam’s Laguna Lăng Cô in 2021.
This week’s event at Banyan Golf Club is hosted by Shrewsbury International School Bangkok. The series is scheduled to conclude at Laguna Golf Phuket from January 29-31, 2021, hosted by the British International School Phuket.
As well as individual age group categories, international schools teams that are part of the existing International Schools’ Golf Tour (ISGT) are able to win team Order of Merit points towards the ISGT season.
The 2020-21 Faldo Series Asia season is supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation.