Two of golf’s biggest organisations, The R&A and Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation, have shown their faith in the UAE once again after announcing the 2021 Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific (WAAP) Championship will be held at Abu Dhabi Golf Club from 10-13 November.
The WAAP, won by home favourite Yuka Yasuda of Japan in 2019, makes a return to the international golf schedule for the first time since the global pandemic interrupted golf championships around the world.
It’s another major boost for the Emirates Golf Federation, who only last month announced that the prestigious men’s Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship would be held at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club from the 3-6 November.
The latest announcement means the UAE will be home to the Asia-Pacific region’s best amateur golfers for successive weeks with the winners of each tournament receiving invitations to the game’s biggest events.
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive at The R&A, said: “After the disruption caused by the pandemic over the last 18 months we are excited to be staging the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific championship at such a fantastic venue in Abu Dhabi. It is more important than ever to provide opportunities for elite women amateurs to compete in Asia-Pacific and we look forward to another thrilling championship in November.”
Taimur Hassan Amin, Chairman of the APGC said: “The Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship has been a wonderful addition to the APGC’s golfing calendar and we very much look forward to welcoming it back to the schedule following last year’s postponement due to Covid-19. Not only does the WAAP present our leading female players the chance to compete against their peers but it also acts as an inspiration for all up-and-coming golfers.
“This year’s historic win at the US Women’s Open by Yuka Saso, joint runner-up in the inaugural WAAP, served to underline the importance of this championship as a platform for the game’s development and rising talent in the region.”
Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Emirates Golf Federation, added: “As a member of the APGC we are delighted to welcome this prestigious championship to the UAE for the first time. It has given us great joy to see two Major winners emerge from this championship and we look forward to hosting these talented amateurs at one of our finest courses. It is an honour to support the APGC and The R&A to advance our shared mission of driving golf’s growth and development.”
The Peter Harradine-designed course opened in 1998 complete with saltwater lakes, ornamental trees and palms along with lush playing surfaces, bold strategic bunkering and large greens make the championship course an excellent test for Asia’s best women golfers.
Andrea Faldella, Club Operations Manager at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, said: “Abu Dhabi Golf Club is honoured to be invited by the APGC and The R & A to stage the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific championship. The National Course will be a tough test for the players, with each hole offering a unique layout of risk and reward opportunities. We look forward to hosting a safe and successful championship and helping The R & A, APGC and EGF to grow the game in the region.”
Just three years after the inaugural WAAP, two players from that first field have gone on to the highest echelons of the sport by becoming Major champions. Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit, 21, claimed victory at the ANA Inspiration in April and 19-year-old Filipina Yuka Saso won the US Open in June to become the first player from the Philippines, male or female, to win a Major.
Atthaya Thitikul, the first winner of the WAAP in 2018, said: “The championship provides the opportunity for the best amateur golfers in the region to play and compete on an amazing stage with the ultimate prize, the opportunity to play in Major Championships, a thrill for any aspiring young golfer.”
The WAAP was developed by The R&A and APGC to unearth emerging talent and provide a pathway for Asia’s elite women amateurs to the international stage. The winner earns invitations to play in the Women’s Open and the Evian Championship, as well as an invitation to play in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.