The top stars from the Asian Tour along with many highly ranked European players are tipped to make the US$2 million
Thailand Classic a nail-biting affair when the tournament gets underway this month.
True and ThaiBev are investing more than Bt180 million to host Thailand’s largest professional sport event with the highest cash prize in the True Thailand Classic 2016 presented by Chang. It is tri-sanctioned by the European Tour, Asian Tour and Thailand PGA event which will attract professional golfers from around the world to battle for the US$1.75 million (about Bt63 million) prize fund. Last year the True Thailand Classic was the first tournament in the Kingdom to be cosanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour in eight years and will see around 140 players from both continents as well as the US and Australia, battling for supremacy. The tournament will be from March 10-13 at Black Mountain Golf Club.
Live broadcasts can be viewed at True Sport HD, True Sport 5, and True4U. Andrew Dodt of Australia will be defending his 2015 title when he played an error-free final round of 67 to win the inaugural True Thailand Classic. He took the victory by a single shot from his countryman Scott Hend and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee. Dodt went into the final round flying under the radar – most of the attention and focus was on 54-hole leader Scott Hend, as well as home favourite Thongchai Jaidee and 51-year-old Miguel Angel Jimenez, both of whom trailed by one. “I’m speechless – it’s just come out of nowhere,” he said.
“I played really well yesterday and today but I just didn’t think I’d come out on top. I knew I was playing well, but to come out and win is just a dream come true.” Panuphol Pittayarat, a 22-year-old Thai golfer, won a four-story, three-bedroom townhouse on the course after making an ace at the 192-yard par-3 14th hole. Pittayarat didn’t make the cut, but came away feeling like he “had won the tournament.”
The pros confirmed to attend the tournament include Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain and Sweden’s Johan Edfors while Australian Andrew Dodt will be playing alongside Thongchai Jaidee, Thailand’s number one, and Kiradech Apibanrat.
“The tournament will be live broadcast to over 223 million homes in more than 50 countries around the world,” said Birathon Kasemsri Na Ayudhaya, Head of Commercial & Business Development, TrueVisions Group Ltd, and the tournament organiser. Hua Hin, Cha-Am, Pranburi March 2016 The tournament is a co-operative event between the public and private sectors including True Corporation, Chang Beverages, Sports Authority of Thailand, Black Mountain Golf Club, Charoen Pokphand Group, Bangkok Bank Plc, Toyota Motor Thailand, and Thai Airways International.
”The SAT also has a long-term plan to work with private sector to support world series tournaments more often, to give a chance for Thai athletes to have a first-hand experience with the pros, to show off the potential of the country as an international event host, as well as to mark Thailand as a destination in sports tourism map,” said Sakol Wannapong, Governor of Sports Authority of Thailand. Interested golf fans who wish to attend “True Thailand Classic 2016 presented by Chang” can book their tickets at Counter Service All Ticket at 7-Eleven outlets, at any stores with Counter Service logo nationwide, or through www.allticketthailand.com. Tickets are Bt1,200, Bt800, and Bt400. For more information, call 02-711-7788.
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Editor’s Tip: On the day before most Tour Events, including the True Thailand Classic, there is a Pro-Am Event. This is when nervous amateur golfers, typically representing sponsoring companies, are pitted against competing pros in a one day social round of golf. Being a spectator on this day when the pros are really having a relaxed practice round gives the opportunity to ‘get up close and personal’. It won’t be the full field but many of the big names will be there. Of course privacy and the etiquette of golf are still required; however this may be your best opportunity to be amongst the ‘best of the best’ in world golf.