Sponsored by PACE Development Corporation, the MENA Golf Tour’s second event in Thailand, saw an international field from 22 countries competing in the MahaSamutr Masters at Banyan Golf Course last month.
The Mountain Creek Thailand Open by Golf Citizen, the fifth event on this year’s MENA schedule, was held May 10th to 12th, followed by the Mahasamutr Masters at Banyan Golf Club on May 17th to 19th to underscore the tour’s growing strength. This is the first year that Thailand has been included in the Tour. aSamutrhaSamutr Masters The strong field was spearheaded by England’s Zane Scotland, who was leading the Tour’s Order of Merit, and Venezuela’s Wolmer Murillo, the last MENA Tour winner at Mountain Creek, as favourites for the inaugural Master’s title. However a 27-year-old Chilean, Antonio Costa, taking a massive six-shot lead into the final round was in cruise control as he left the field trailing in his wake, finishing with a final score of 15 under par, three shots ahead of runner-up Murillo. Third place getter and leading amateur was India’s Rayhan Thomas, a budding star of the future. Antonio was buoyant after completing his round with the putter running hot. His win resurrected a previously struggling professional career.
Others described him as the “nicest guy on the tour”, a sentiment shared by his Banyan caddie Khun Nui. In return Antonio modestly commented that “I couldn’t have won without her”; and went so far as to suggest he wanted to take her back to Chile! He commented on the many friendships he has made in Thailand, which he expects to “last a lifetime.” Prior to the actual tournament, the MahaSamutr Masters Pro-Am was played on Sunday, May 15th, when MENA Professionals teamed up with MahaSamutr Country Club Members. The ‘shotgun start’ tournament was great fun for all players, and afforded the top three scoring MahaSamutr members an amazing prize – a trip to Fort Worth, Texas, to play in the official Dean & Deluca Invitational ProAm at the PGA acclaimed Colonial Country Club. The lucky winners were Khun Mavee Simaroj, Mr. Michael Sagild, and Mr. James Lithiby.
The Pro-Am event awards ceremony and reception took place on the beach at MahaSamutr Country Club. Members and their families had the opportunity to mingle with some of the world’s best up-andcoming pro golfers in a relaxed environment with smooth jazz, bean bag chairs on the beach and delicious food and drinks. An initiative of the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation, the MENA Golf Tour was created in 2011 with the aim of developing golf in the region (Middle East and North Africa). It is affiliated to R&A, the worldwide golf governing body, and the Arab Golf Federation and enjoys the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status. Mohamed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the MENA Golf Tour, was upbeat about the Banyan Golf Course and golf in Thailand.
“We are delighted to be at Banyan Golf Club for our second event in Thailand this season. With so many prestigious tournaments happening out there, Thailand is ideally placed to capitalise on its unique position as a diverse and high quality golfing destination. This is our first visit to Thailand where you don’t just get great golf, but enjoy a memorable experience.” “We are extremely excited to have had this opportunity to host the MahaSamutr Masters at our club, which is a welcome addition to Thailand’s growing portfolio of world-class events,” said Stacey Walton, Director of Banyan. “We are very pleased to have this opportunity to be the title sponsor of the MahaSamutr Masters,” said James McManaman, Club Manager at MahaSamutr Country Club.
“This is a wonderful new addition to Hua Hin’s amazing variety of international sporting events.” For more information about how to join MahaSamutr Country Club and possibly play in next year’s MENA Pro-Am, visit www. mahasamutr.com. About the Mena Tour: www.menatour.com