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Spanish Inquisition Awaits APGC Team

Singapore’s Shannon Tan (left) and Chinese Taipei’s Tiffany Huang are part of a strong Asia-Pacific team for the Patsy Hankins Trophy.

Singapore: A power-packed Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation team has been confirmed for the third edition of the Patsy Hankins Trophy.

Featuring six players from the top-50 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) and eight from the top-80, Liz McKinnon’s Asia-Pacific line-up will be cautiously optimistic about their prospects as they prepare to take on their European counterparts at Spain’s La Manga Club from August 3-5.

“We’re pleased to have been able to put together such a strong team,” said New Zealander McKinnon, the Asia-Pacific’s non-playing captain at the Solheim Cup-style match play event.

“With two players from Australia, Japan and Korea and one each from Chinese Taipei, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand, we have a fabulous representation of our region,” said McKinnon.

Currently sixth in the WAGR, Korean Kim Min-sol is the highest ranked player in the team. Also in the top-80 are New Zealand’s Fiona Xu (17), Japan’s Mizuki Hashimoto (28), Korean Park Ye-ji (32), Chinese Taipei’s Tiffany Huang Ting-hsuan (37), Australian Maddison Hinson-Tolchard (44), Indian Avani Prashanth (79) and Singapore’s Shannon Tan (80).

Completing a formidable team are Australian Caitlin Peirce (104), Japan’s Nanako Inagaki (108), Thai Rina Tatematsu (143) and Indonesian Elaine Widjaja (373).

McKinnon said a sign of the growing strength and development of women’s golf in the region is the fact that this is the first time players from India, Indonesia and Singapore have been selected for the Patsy Hankins Trophy team.

“We are fortunate to have so many outstanding players in the Asia-Pacific at this time,” said McKinnon, adding that team selection was based on a combination of factors, led by the WAGR and player performances at February’s Queen Sirikit Cup and the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific (WAAP) in March.

The two most notable absentees from the Asia-Pacific team that will travel to Spain are Japan’s Saki Baba, second in the WAGR, and Thai Eila Galitsky, winner of the WAAP in Singapore. Both have other commitments the week of the Patsy Hankins Trophy.

For McKinnon, though, the focus of her attention is now on the pairings for the foursomes and four-ball at La Manga.

“We’re lucky in that we have so many fantastic combinations from which to choose. In the coming weeks we’ll be weighing up all the options,” said McKinnon, a former Ladies European Tour player who’s been a stalwart at Golf New Zealand for the past 14 years.

At La Manga, the Asia-Pacific team will be bidding to maintain their 100 per cent record in the event, having won in Portugal in 2016 and Qatar in 2018, the last occasion the Patsy Hankins Trophy was staged.

Major champions Yuka Saso and Patty Tavatanakit along with Atthaya Thitikul, winner of the inaugural WAAP who rose to number one in the Rolex Women’s World Ranking last year, were all part of the 2018 team.

Asia-Pacific Team for Patsy Hankins Trophy: Mizuki Hashimoto (Japan); Maddison Hinson-Tolchard (Australia); Huang Ting-hsuan (Chinese Taipei); Nanako Inagaki (Japan); Kim Min-sol (Korea); Park Ye-ji (Korea); Caitlin Peirce (Australia); Avani Prashanth (India); Shannon Tan (Singapore); Rina Tatematsu (Thailand); Elaine Widjaja (Indonesia); Fiona Xu (New Zealand).

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