Thais out to cap PGT Asia run

Namchok Tantipokhakul and Wisut Artjanawat seek to close out Philippine Golf Tour Asia’s third season the way they kicked off Thailand’s campaign last year with Kammalas Namuangruk and Nirun Sae-Ueng shooting for a breakthrough in the ICTSI Eagle Ridge Invitational unfolding tomorrow, Jan. 14, at Eagle Ridge’s Aoki course in Gen. Trias, Cavite.

The burly Tantipokhakul charged back with a closing 67 to edge Finland’s Teemu Putkonen by one and rule the circuit’s opening tournament at Luisita last April while Artjanawat topped the first PGTA co-sanctioned event abroad with a similar come-from-behind victory in Daan TPGA (PGA of Taiwan) Open last May.

Though the Thais slowed down in the next five legs, the country’s perennial regional rivals both in the amateurs and pros are going all-out to sweep the last two legs of PGT Asia’s third season that extends to the first month of the new year.

Kammalas Namuangruk
Kammalas Namuangruk

The ninth leg, the ICTSI Eagle Ridge Championship, will be played on Jan. 21-24 at the Faldo layout.

Other Thais tipped to contend for the crown in the $100,000 event put up by ICTSI are Polthai Tawit, Chonlatit Chuenboonngam, Pasavee Lertvilai, Donlaphatchai Niyomchon, Ratchapol Jantavara, Natthapong Niyomchon, Tawan Phongphun, Puk Pradittan, Wongsakorn Choowong, Namuangruk and Nirun Sae-Ueng, who lost in a playoff to American Tarik Can in PGTA’s fourth leg (Aboitiz Invitational) at Wack Wack last Sept.

Can is also in the fold, along with a number of foreign aces a top finish in the circuit backed by PLDT Enterprise, Meralco, BDO and PGT Asia official apparel Pin High, including Aussie Damien Jordan, Peter Stojanovski of Macedonia, Josh Salah, Lexus Keoninh and Charles Lee of the US, Japanese Ryo Nishimura and Korean Shin Seung Woo.

Also out to make an impact are invitees Jonathan Fransson from Sweden, Adam Kasa from Hungary, Sangun Lee and Gookmin Kim from Korea, Japanese Toru Nakajima, Sean Avellan from Finland, Aussie Joe Knox and Jeremy Wendelken from the US.

The locals, however, are all primed up to defend their turf in the next two weeks to likewise gain some momentum when the fourth season of the region’s rising circuit marks its fourth season on April 28-May 1 for the Luisita Championship in Tarlac after the 2020 PGTA Qualifying School on April 22-25, also at Luisita.