Laguna Golf Phuket will become the first golf course to host a PGA TOUR Series-China event outside of mainland China when it hosts the Tour’s third and final Global Qualifying Tournament from March 5-8.
The club will welcome 120 high-level international players representing 17 nationalities from across the globe, including seven players from Thailand. The four-day qualifying event is an intense competition as it helps decide membership for the 2019 season. Only the player who wins the 72-hole stroke-play tournament can play the full season while players who finish in the second-through-12th positions will earn guaranteed starts in the first six events. Finishers 13-35 (and ties) will earn conditional status through the first six events.
The Tour is thrilled for the opportunity to work with Laguna Golf Phuket to help bring a world-class PGA TOUR-affiliated event to the area and also to see new talented players emerge—players who often go on to do great things in their careers.
“We have watched numerous players show up at the Qualifying Tournaments, and a year or two later they are playing on the Web.com Tour and the PGA TOUR. It’s at the qualifiers where many of them are beginning their professional journeys, and we recognize the talent that has come through our Tour during its first four years,” said PGA TOUR Series-China Executive Director Greg Carlson. “As we announce these events, it means another PGA TOUR Series-China season is just around the corner, featuring a mix of new players who will emerge from these qualifiers as well as those players who are returning.
“This is also a new chapter in the history of the Tour as we stage an event away from Greater China for the first time,” Carlson continued. “Playing in Thailand will provide players with a new cultural experience, while playing a tournament on a world-class golf course in one of the great resort cities in Southeast Asia.”
Architect Paul Jansen revamped and upgraded Laguna Golf Phuket in 2014, a course built among lagoons, native water grasses and mature woodland areas. The last International Federation of PGA Tours event held at Laguna Golf Phuket was the Asian Development Tour’s 2018 Singha Laguna Phuket Open.
“Laguna Phuket is excited to welcome the PGA Tour Series – China and host their first international event outside of China. It is our honor to partner with such a prestigious brand as the PGA Tour. We are excited to showcase our integrated resort facilities to all the tour players and officials. We are sure they will enjoy a wonderful experience between the golf course at Laguna Golf Phuket and the events’ official hotel Angsana Laguna Phuket”, said Laguna Golf Group Assistant Vice President Paul Wilson.
In the past, players from Thailand have fared well on the Tour. Gunn Charoenkul has won twice, once in 2014 and once in 2016 – and last week, Somprat Rattanasuwan earned his full card by tying for third at the Series’ second Global Qualifying Tournament. This week, the seven Thai players in the field includes one local player, Thanathip Puaktes.
This season, Cheng Jin won the Mainland China Qualifying Tournament. Singapore’s Abdul Hadi won the First Global Qualifying Tournament, while South Korea’s Taeho Kim won the Second Global Qualifying Tournament last week.
In 2018, PGA TOUR Series-China Global Qualifying Tournament winners were Americans Jeffrey Kang and Joseph Winslow, with Cheng Jin capturing the Mainland China qualifier. Kang and Winslow both went on to win a Series event that year. Other Global Qualifying Tournament winners in the Series’ history are American Charlie Saxon and South Korea’s Sungpil Park (2016), Canada’s Justin Shin and American Kyle Souza (2015) and Australians David Lutterus and Alex Hawley (2014).