Sadom earns breakthrough with an ace at the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation


Lopburi, Thailand, February 17: Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana had a magical ace to thank for helping him win his maiden victory by five shots following a two-under-par 68 in the final round of the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation 2019 on Sunday.

The 20-year-old Thai holed out from 175 yards on hole two after sweetly striking his seven-iron for his first hole-in-one of his professional career at the 13th Military Circle Golf Course, the venue where tournament host Thongchai Jaidee grew up playing on.

Thai-Japanese Kosuke Hamamoto signed for a 65 to take second place while Korea’s Soomin Lee posted a 69 to sit in third place at the ฿4million (approximately US$123,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event jointly sanctioned by the All Thailand Golf Tour.

With his four-day total of 14-under-par 266, Sadom took home a winner’s prize purse of US$22,372 and earned six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points, in only his third event since joining the play-for-pay ranks in December last year.

Sadom, who came through Asian Tour Qualifying School in January after finishing in tied-13th, was delighted to find success so early on in his career.

“I am very happy to win on the ADT. I was very excited to start the round today and then the hole-in-one came out of nowhere. I just wanted to hit the green and make par but that was a nice surprise and I got really lucky,” said Sadom.

The young Thai, who marked his card with one double-bogey, one bogey, three birdies and an ace, credited his ability to stay composed despite almost losing the lead towards the middle of the round.

“I was looking at the scores and Soomin (Lee) was only one shot behind after hole 12 when I dropped a shot and he made birdie. I told myself I needed to make more birdies and I did. After hole 13 and 14 I was more confident,” added Sadom, who propelled to the top of the ADT Order of Merit courtesy of his victory.

Lee, a one-time European Tour winner, took pride in his performance this week despite struggling towards the end of his final round.

“I played well all week and was playing well until hole 17 when I three-putted for double-bogey and hole 18 where I hit my tee shot into the hazard. But I am excited with the progress I have made in my game this week,” said the 25-year-old.

Playing in his first ADT event on an invitation spot, Lee was impressed with the talent on the region’s secondary circuit and tipped his hat off to his playing partner Sadom.

“I gave it my best today but Sadom was just too good of a player. I am happy that he won because he did play really well,” added the Korean.

The Thongchai Jaidee Foundation 2019 was inaugurated in 2015 with the intention of providing more playing opportunities for the region’s rising stars as well as to draw attention to Thongchai’s charitable foundation.

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

Leading final round scores:

266 – Sadom Kaewkanjana 67 67 64 68

271 – Kosuke Hamamoto 69 65 72 65

272 – Soomin Lee 66 66 71 69

273 – Pavit Tangkamolprasert 72 67 67 67

Full results and OOM click here.

Ends.


Lopburi, Thailand, February 16: Young Thai Sadom Kaewkanjana fired a commendable six-under-par 64 to grab the lead in the third round of the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation 2019 on Saturday.

Chasing for his maiden victory this week, the 20-year-old Thai traded seven birdies against one bogey to lead by five shots on a 12-under-par 198 total at the 13th Military Circle Golf Course, the venue where tournament host Thongchai Jaidee grew up playing on.

Korea’s Soomin Lee struggled to a 71 to share second place with Thailand’s Chinnarat Phadungsil and American Seungjae Maeng who signed for matching 66s at the ฿4million (approximately US$123,000) event.

The in-form Sadom made a fast charge with four birdies in his opening five holes before making the turn in 31. He grabbed birdies on holes 10, 12 and 16 before dropping his first shot of the day on hole 17 for an inward 33.

“My putting helped me a lot today. I made three birdies in a row on holes from hole three because I was rolling in 15-footers,” said Sadom, who only needed 25 putts.

Coming off a tied-fourth finish on his local circuit last week, Sadom was pleased to carry over the momentum to shoot his personal-best round in only his second ADT tournament since turning professional at the end of last year.

“This will be the first time I am playing in the final group on the final day in an ADT event. Honestly, I will just be following the same game plan. My sister and my parents have been coming out to watch me and I want to do them proud tomorrow,” added the Thai.

The 24-year-old Maeng, who came through Asian Tour Qualifying School this year after finishing in tied-30th, credited his conservative approach off the tee which led him to only miss five greens and surge into contention.

“It was a solid round today where I didn’t make any mistakes. I played really conservative off the tee which worked out well. I was also hitting my irons well especially with my three, four and five-irons so every birdie I had today was inside eight feet,” said the American, who traded five birdies against one bogey.

“Towards the end of last year, I made a few swing changes and from there on I stuck to it. This is my second event of the year and I am confident in how my game is looking. I will just stick to this game plan and see what happens,” said Maeng, who has not had a top-10 finish on the ADT since the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation in 2017 where he finished in tied-sixth.

The Thongchai Jaidee Foundation 2019, jointly-sanctioned by the All Thailand Golf Tour and the ADT, was inaugurated in 2015 with the intention of providing more playing opportunities for the region’s rising stars as well as to draw attention to Thongchai’s charitable foundation.

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

All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

Leading third round scores:

198 – Sadom Kaewkanjana 67 67 64

203 – Seungjae Maeng 69 68 66, Chinnarat Phadungsil 66 71 66, Soomin Lee 66 66 71

204 – Krittin Sunthornnon 72 68 64

205 – Trevor Simsby 70 69 66, Kazuki Higa 64 67 74


Lopburi, Thailand, February 15: Japan’s Kazuki Higa signed for a three-under-par 67 to stay ahead of the chasing pack at the halfway stage of the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation 2019 on Friday.

The 23-year-old Higa compiled a two-day total of nine-under-par 131 to hold a one-shot advantage over Soomin Lee of Korea (66) in second place at the ฿4million (approximately US$123,000) event.

Local prospect Sadom Kaewkanjana posted a 67 to share the third spot on a 134 total with countrymen Kosuke Hamamoto (65) while Itthipat Buranatanyarat (69) and Natthapong Niyomchon (70) took tied-fifth at the 13th Military Circle Golf Course, the venue where tournament host Thongchai Jaidee grew up playing on.

Higa, who claimed his maiden ADT victory in Bangladesh last year, was happy to put up another decent round despite struggling with a cold putter. He dropped his first shot of the tournament on hole 11 but would recover quickly with a birdie on hole 12.

“My putting wasn’t very good today and my round would have been even better if I rolled in more putts,” said the Japanese, who totalled 30 putts in the second round.

The Okinawa native found some momentum in his back nine where he grabbed birdies on holes one, three, six and seven before dropping another shot on his last hole.

“I am striking my irons well which is helping me stay of trouble on this course. I played better on the second nine and hit it close on a lot of holes. Hole nine is a very tough hole so I am happy to take a bogey and walk away,” added Higa.

The 25-year-old Lee, a one-time European Tour winner, had his solid iron-play to thank for in his second round where he traded six birdies against two bogeys.

“I am striking my irons well and most of my birdies were tap-ins. I started with two birdies in a row on hole 10 and 11 and both of them were inside five-feet. I hit every green on the front nine and didn’t make too many mistakes,” said the Korean.

Playing on an invitational spot this week, Lee hopes to carry his consistent momentum into the weekend rounds.

“I got an invitation from Thongchai to play in the event this week so I decided to play this week since I train in Thailand over the winter season and my home is just an hour away from this golf course. I just hope I can continue this pace into the weekend,” said Lee, who resides in Seoul.

The halfway cut was set at two-over-par 142 with 57 players advancing to the weekend rounds.

The Thongchai Jaidee Foundation 2019, jointly-sanctioned by the All Thailand Golf Tour and the ADT, was inaugurated in 2015 with the intention of providing more playing opportunities for the region’s rising stars as well as to draw attention to Thongchai’s charitable foundation.

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

All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

Leading second round scores:

131 – Kazuki Higa 64 67

132 – Soomin Lee 66 66

134 – Sadom Kaewkanjana 67 67, Kosuke Hamamoto 69 65

136 – Itthipat Buranatanyarat 67 69, Natthapong Niyomchon 66 70

137 – Udorn Duangdecha 69 68, Janne Kaske 68 69, Chinnarat Phadungsil 66 71, Seungjae Maeng 69 68


Lopburi, Thailand, February 14: Japan’s Kazuki Higa took the clubhouse lead with a brilliant six-under-par 64 thanks to an early birdie blitz in the weather-hit opening round of the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation 2019 on Thursday.

The 23-year-old Higa made a fast start with five consecutive birdies in his opening six holes to take the clubhouse lead at the ฿4million (approximately US$123,000) event hosted by Thai veteran star Thongchai Jaidee.

Countrymen Chinnarat Phadungsil and Natthapong Niyomchon signed for matching 66s to trail by two shots at the Asian Development Tour (ADT) event staged at the 13th Military Circle Golf Course.

Starting on the first, Higa reeled in birdies from holes two to six to make the turn in 30. He grabbed another birdie on hole 10 and eight pars on his way home for a 34 in his back nine.

“I started out very well and was on a roll. My tee shots were very accurate off the tee which helped on this course since the fairways are so narrow.

“I was honestly just very lucky today. I haven’t been putting well since the start of the year. I couldn’t get the putts rolling in the second nine but I just stayed out of trouble,” said Higa, who totalled 26 putts.

The talented Japanese first burst onto the scene with a maiden wire-to-wire victory on the ADT in Bangladesh in his very first attempt. He went on to notch five top-10 results in his rookie year but would narrowly miss out on his Asian Tour card after finishing eighth on the ADT Merit ranks.

“I am very happy to have opened with a low round, I missed the cut at the last ADT event because I wasn’t confident in my swing. But if I stay out of trouble and continue with the same game plan I know it will be a good week,” added Higa.

Chinnarat credited Thongchai’s course advice he received at the start of the week to his opening round where he traded six birdies against two bogeys.

“This course is very difficult. Before this week I spoke to Thongchai and he gave me advice on how to play some of the holes, since he grew up playing on this course.

“If you are not strategic with where you place your tee shots you might end up in a tight spot. Like on hole eight where I made bogey, I hit a good drive but it bounced right and I was blocked by a tree,” said the three-time Asian Tour winner.

Play was first suspended at 4.32pm local time due to lightning threats before it was later abandoned for the day at 6.30 pm due to fading light.

A total of 54 players will resume their first round at 6.45 am local time on Friday with the second round starting at 6.45am local time as scheduled.

The Thongchai Jaidee Foundation 2019, jointly-sanctioned by the All Thailand Golf Tour and the ADT, was inaugurated in 2015 with the intention of providing more playing opportunities for the region’s rising stars as well as to draw attention to Thongchai’s charitable foundation.

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

All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive a minimum of six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

Leading first round scores (incomplete)

64 -Kazuki Higa

66 – Natthapong Niyomchon , Chinnarat Phadungsil


Lopburi, Thailand, February 13: Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat is feeling confident as he goes after back-to-back titles on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) at the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation 2019 which starts on Thursday.

Having claimed his third ADT victory at the season-opening Boonchu Ruangkit Championship in January, just two weeks after securing his Asian Tour card at the Qualifying School, the 25-year-old Thai is eyeing for more glory this week.

The popular event, hosted by Thai star Thongchai Jaidee, will offer a prize purse of ฿4million (approximately US$123,000) and will be held at the 13th Military Circle Golf Course in Thongchai’s hometown of Lopburi, which is hosting an international event for the first time.

Itthipat will spearhead the local charge alongside former ADT Order of Merit champions Pannakorn Uthaipas and Pavit Tangkamolprasert, as well as veterans Boonchu Ruangkit and Thaworn Wiratchant.

Reigning Order of Merit champion Miguel Carballo of Argentina, Tour winners Kazuki Higa of Japan, American Sam Gillis and Wang Wei-lun of Chinese Taipei will all feature in the cosmopolitan 156-man field from 19 countries.

Itthipat, who missed out on his Asian Tour card by just two rungs after finishing ninth on the 2018 Merit rankings, made up for the disappointment when he regained his playing rights at the Asian Tour Qualifying School where he came in third following a grueling 90-hole battle.

“I was struggling for a bit the last couple of years. But now that I have won again on the ADT, I feel really confident heading into the new season on the Asian Tour.

“I don’t think there is added pressure of performing well again after a win because I just need to stick to my routine. Everything else is an added bonus,” said the amiable Thai.

Itthipat, who turned professional in 2014, started plying his trade on the ADT in 2015, where he claimed his breakthrough victory in the Philippines which was only his sixth start on the region’s secondary circuit that year.

He went on to secure a second ADT victory at the season-opener in Singapore in 2016 before finishing fourth on the money list that year to earn his Asian Tour card for the first time.

“After playing on the ADT for so many years, I think I have become more mature in the mental aspect of my game. I used to be so focused on results and now, I just try not to overthink,” added Itthipat.

Thongchai, Thailand’s number one Golf Ambassador who has been helping to promote international awareness of the Kingdom as a world-class golf destination, is thrilled to be hosting the fourth edition of his event on the course which he started playing since he was 16.

The 49-year-old hopes to share the rich history of his hometown and at the same time bring attention to his charitable foundation which was formed in 2009 to give back to the underprivileged.

“The whole town will be wearing traditional costumes and I think it is a great opportunity to share my culture with the players by encouraging them to wear the traditional costumes during the welcome dinner and at the pro-am tournament,” said Thongchai, the only player to have won the Asian Tour Order of Merit on three occasions – 2001, 2004 and 2009.

The Thongchai Jaidee Foundation 2019 will also be held in conjunction with the King Narai Reign fair, a 10-day event organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in Lopburi to pay homage to King Narai the Great, who lived from 1580–1655.

During his reign, King Narai turned Lopburi province as well as Thailand into the centre of culture, religion and diplomatic relations.

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

All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive a minimum of six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

Ends.


Lopburi, Thailand, February 12: Thailand’s Pannakorn Uthaipas is determined to put up a good showing to restore his much-needed confidence when he tees off for the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation 2019 which starts on Thursday.

The 28-year-old Thai, who was crowned the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit champion in 2017, has struggled to hit top form in his 2018 season on the premier Asian Tour, missing 10 cuts in 20 starts to finish in 100th place on the Habitat for Humanity Standings.

Despite failing to keep his Asian Tour card for 2019, Pannakorn remains hopeful that he can play his way back to the premier Tour from the ADT, starting with the popular event this week where he has enjoyed top-five results in the last two editions in 2016 and 2017.

Pannakorn will feature in the stellar 156-man field alongside reigning Merit champion Miguel Carballo of Argentina, compatriots Itthipat Buranatanyarat and Nitithorn Thippong at the ฿4 million (approximately US$123,000) event.

The event hosted by Thai star Thongchai Jaidee has not only attracted more than 35 ADT winners, but also Asian Tour champions which include Stephen Lewton of England, Malaysia’s Danny Chia and Mardan Mamat of Singapore.

Thai veterans Boonchu Ruangkit, Thaworn Wiratchant and Chapchai Nirat, winner of the 2016 edition, have also pledged their support for Thongchai by playing in his event, which will be held for the first time at the 13th Military Circle Golf Course.

“I fell sick and had to withdraw halfway through the first round of season-opening Boonchu Ruangkit Championship last month. I was a little disappointed because I wanted to start the season right but didn’t get a chance to do so.

“I lost a lot of confidence last year after coming off a great season on the ADT where I won the Order of Merit. I think I put too much pressure on myself to do well,” said Pannakorn, who claimed his breakthrough at the Taifong Open in Chinese Taipei two years ago.

The burly Thai, however, is hoping a recent swing change and an improved fitness will help him hit top form again in the tournament, where he had previously drove home a car, thanks to an ace during the first round of the 2016 edition.

“I have been going to the gym regularly now to work on gaining strength. With the work that I have put in, I think I am ready. I have always liked playing in Thongchai’s event because he knows what is best for the players and how to manage a tournament well,” added Pannakorn.

The Thongchai Jaidee Foundation, jointly-sanctioned by the All Thailand Golf Tour and the ADT, was inaugurated in 2015 with the intention of providing more playing opportunities for the region’s rising stars as well as to draw attention to Thongchai’s charitable foundation.

The popular event returns to the ADT following a one-year lapse and will be staged for the first time at the 13th Military Circle Golf Course where Thongchai grew up playing golf in his hometown of Lopburi.

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

All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive a minimum of six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

Ends.


Lopburi, Thailand, February 7: Reigning Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit champion Miguel Carballo will launch his bid for more Asian success when he makes his debut appearance at the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation 2019 next week.

The 39-year-old Carballo became the first Argentinean to top the ADT money list following a stellar rookie season which saw him cap one victory and eight top-10s. The former PGA Tour player also stamped his mark by capping two top-five results on the premier Asian Tour last year.

Having enjoyed a well-deserved break back home in Bahia Blanca, the rejuvenated Carballo is ready to put up a good showing when he tees off for the popular event hosted by Thai star Thongchai Jaidee at the 13th Military Circle Golf Course in Lopburi from February 14 to 17.

Carballo will feature in the elite 156-man field gathered at the fourth edition of the ฿4million (approximately US$123,000) event, which is jointly-sanctioned by the ADT and the All Thailand Golf Tour.

“I had a great off-season where I took a pretty long break and didn’t play golf for close to 25 days. After a busy season travelling, I felt like I really needed it. I went back home to Bahia Blanca to visit my father and my brother and took a short beach vacation with my family,” said Carballo.

“Playing in Thongchai’s event will be a great way to start the year because of how competitive the field is. I have been practicing in Thailand the past couple of days and I really want to start the year right at this tournament,” he added.

Having gained confidence and valuable playing experiences from playing on the ADT for the past one year, Carballo has set bigger goals for himself this season.

“My plan for this year is really just to try and play as many tournaments as I can and see if I can bring my family over to Asia.  The ultimate aim is to win on the Asian Tour and keep my card as soon as possible so that I focus on playing well without the added pressure,” Carballo said.

Former Order of Merit winner Pannakorn Uthaipas will lead the local charge alongside in-form Itthipat Buranatanyarat, who leads the current rankings following his recent victory on home soil, as well as Asian Tour champions Natipong Srithong, Rattanon Wannasrichan and Chapchai Nirat, who won the event in 2016.

Thongchai, who holds an unprecedented three Asian Tour Order of Merit crowns, has hosted the tournament on the ADT since 2015, with Kiradech Aphibarnrat, highest-ranked Thai in the world, winning the inaugural edition and the last edition in 2017.

With the venue moved to his home course for the first time, the 49-year-old Thongchai hopes to draw attention to his foundation that was formed in 2009 to give access to the game of golf to the underprivileged in his hometown of Lopburi.

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

All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive a minimum of six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

Ends.

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