Pattaya: Not only will Pattana Golf Club and Resort make it’s Mena Tour debut this week, but it will also host the Tour’s first 72-hole event.
The last event on the tour’s three-stage Thai Swing will carry more world rankings points as a result of the increase from 54 to 72 holes.
With Thai ace Prom Meesawat in the starting line-up for the first time, the Pattana Golf Championship, which starts Tuesday, will have a strong local flavour, but he will be up against a slew of potential winners.
Meesawat, a 32-year-old Hua Hin native, racked up a creditable tied 13th at the European Tour’s Hero Indian Open and tied 15th at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic this year and will be keen to keep up the good work when he tees it up alongside a strong field, represented by players from 25 countries.
Thai players lead the chart with 33 entries, including three amateurs, closely followed by England (32), India (14) and South Africa (11) in refection of the tour’s growing popularity in Thailand and beyond.
Notables in the field, who will be aiming to step up to the plate and challenge Meesawat for honours, include, England’s Zane Scotland, a 10-time winner on tour, Luke Joy, who finished runner-up at last week’s Mountain Creek Open, Lee Corfield and Craig Hinton, who all have strung together impressive streaks on the tour.
English cricketer-turned-golfer Craig Kieswetter and the UAE’s Ahmad Al Musharrakh are also in fray, hoping to make amends for missing the cut last week along with Spain’s Leo Lilja, the winner of the tour’s season-opening Palmeraie Country Club Casablanca Open in Morocco earlier this year.
Switzerland’s Dubai-based Michael Harradine and Thailand’s Worathon Zeng will lead the challenge in the amateur division that has attracted nine entries. Harradine topped the division on six-under 210 last week while Zeng had reigned supreme at the MahaSamutr Masters, the tour’s opening event on the Thai swing, their impressive showing raising the prospects of another intriguing duel.