The Honda LPGA Thailand National Qualifiers from the 8-9 January 2019 at the Siam Country Club Pattaya, Old Course, were staged with the objective of finding one winning Thai female golfer to qualify for the upcoming Honda LPGA Thailand 2019.
The qualifiers yielded positive results for Benyapa Niphatsophon who made a second round seven under to win by four shots on 9-under-135.
Honda would also like to officially announce the three Thai women golfers to receive a sponsor exemption spot – they are, Atthaya Thitikul, Pajaree Anannarukam, and Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras.
Pitak Pruittisarikorn, chief operating officer of Honda Automobile (Thailand) said:
“On behalf of Honda, I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to Benyapa Niphatsophon for winning the qualifiers, which is a part of The Road to Honda LPGA Thailand. Held for the first time, in collaboration with the Sports Authority of Thailand, the qualifiers provide aspirant local golfers this special opportunity to play in an elite tournament and compete with the best women players from around the world, vying for a prize purse of US$1.6 million (Bt53m).
“Honda is proud to be a part of major intiatives to empower new generations of Thai female golfers, and help give them the inspiration to improve their skills and the potential to play in professional tournaments in the future. Also, we would like to invite all Thai fans to follow and cheer on all Thai golfers and professionals during the tournament from 21-24 February.”
Benyapa Niphatsophon said after her win: “I’m very satisfied with my performance. The golfers were very determined because the opportunity to compete in the Honda LPGA Thailand 2019 with world-class professionals does not come easily. I would like to thank Honda and the Sports Authority of Thailand for promoting this competition. I will train hard to develop the competitive skills of a top-level player in the near future.”
Pavarisa Yoktuan, who held a two-shot lead after the first round, came second on 139 in the 53-player field.
This year, Honda LPGA Thailand 2019 will carry the tagline “Dream Big”. The tournament is a great platform to spark interest in golf and build passion among professionals, enthusiasts and junior players to develop their skill and to pursue their dream of becoming a professional golfer.
This year’s event will feature 70 female golfers, including 57 professionals from the 2019 LPGA Priority List, the winner from the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions 2019, 2019 ISPS Handa Vic Open and 2019 ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open, as well as nine invited players and Benyapa Niphatsophon as the winner of Honda LPGA Thailand National Qualifiers.
The three invited golfers who will be joining the Honda LPGA Thailand 2019 have outstanding achievements and are big contributors in making Thailand as a first-rate golf destination. One of them, Atthaya Thitikul (Jeen), 15, an amateur, was the youngest ever winner of a professional tournament in The Ladies European Tour and have also won the mixed team gold medal of the Youth Olympics held in Argentina.
She has played in three majors: the 2017 Evian Championship, ANA Inspiration 2018 and Women’s British Open year, earning particularly impressive scores in the latter two.
Pajaree Anannarukarn (Meaw), gained the 39th rank LPGA Q-Series that was eligible to LPGA tour and got a Tour Card for LPGA 2019 as a rookie.
Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras (Saipan), participated in her first LPGA Tournament in 2016. In 2018, she competed in 19 tournaments and her best result was being placed 10th at the Blue Bay LPGA. She qualified from having participated in three majors: the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Ricoh Women’s British Open and Evian Championship.
Additionally, The Road to Honda LPGA Thailand aims to further develop the sport and industry of golf in Thailand and also to raise the local standards of golf.
Besides the Honda LPGA Thailand National Qualifiers, the tournament will organise two golf seminars; the Young Ambassadors Seminar on the 19 January for golf industry professionals to share in-depth knowledge of golf tournament management with a new generation and the Golf Leaders Conference which will be held on 21 February to encourage golfers and industry experts to network and exchange experiences regarding sustainable development golf in Thailand.