2018 has been a remarkable year for the Thailand Ladies Professional Golf Association, better known as simply the “Thai LPGA”, which is celebrating 10 years since its establishment.
Founded in 2008 with Dr. Somporn Juangroongruangkit as its first president, the Thai LPGA was only able to organise 4-6 tournaments a year in its early days.
The turning point came in 2013 when the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) allocated Bt500,000 for each of seven Thai LPGA events, peaking with a total prizemoney of Bt3 million for the Thailand LPGA Masters in the same year.
Since 2017, overall prizemoney for eight Tour events has increased to Bt1 million, with the Masters soaring to Bt4 million, reflecting the strength of women’s golf in Thailand.
One important factor has been the sanctioning of the Thai LPGA Masters by the Australian LPG (ALPG), China LPGA (CLPGA) and Thai LPGA.
This year’s prestigious season-finale will be held from September 19to 21 at Bangkok’s Panya Indra Golf Club with Bt4 million purse money and world-ranking points.
“The Thai LPGA Tour keeps growing and is now truly international – it is now in the front row of women’s golf of Asia,” said Patinya Kuantrakul, the president of The Thai LPGA. “This year, we can organise our own nine tournaments with a total Bt12 million purse money.
“In the future, we will keep growing the association. We believe that we are on the right track, which is evidenced by many of our member players are competing in overseas tours.”
Thai players feature prominently on the international stage, in world-class circuits including the Taiwan LPGA Tour, China LPGA Tour, LPGA of Japan Tour, Ladies European Tour and the highest of them all, the US-based LPGA Tour.
Three Thais – Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn plus Thidapa Suwannapura – have won 5 titles on the LPGA tour. In June Kanyalak Preedasuttijit clinched the title of Ladies European Thailand Championship while several other Thai LPGA players finished in the top 10.
Nowadays, the Thai LPGA is committed to developing the next generation of talented players to maintain the progress made in the past 10 years.
“I would like to encourage any new faces to keep their golf practising for the sake of their own success.” Patinya said.
“There are a lot of competitors out there on the world stage. You have to keep up your eyes on, and work as hard as, your role models. Not only watching their success, but looking and studying how they have dedicated themselves to it until they have gained the attention of the world.”