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Old 01-24-2016, 02:37 PM   #1
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Thais Raring To Get Into The Swing Of Things

original link from Bangkok Post: Thais Raring To Get Into The Swing Of Things

To the surprise of none, I am looking forward to the 2016 LPGA season to see how the increasing number of Thai players perform. Well, I'm an LPGA fan so I'm always looking forward to the new season regardless of who is playing. But this year definitely stands out. One piece of advice I'd give for Thai names is to break them into two parts. Generally, they are not phonetically that challenging. They are just long. For example, for Thanapolboonyaras, break it into Thanapol...not that tough...and boonyaras. Then put them together, rhythmically separating the first and second parts. It can make it easier. Here is a nice story from the Bangkok Post:

Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong


Thais raring to get into the swing of things

Ariya continues to be the Kingdom's best bet for an LPGA title.

by Kittipong Thongsombat

Nine Thais are busy polishing their skills with an aim to end the country's barren run and lift a trophy this year on the LPGA Tour.

As they pack their bags and head for the 2016 season opening Bahamas Classic, which starts on Thursday, the Thais are also hoping that another successful year is in store for them.

At the conclusion of the 2015 season, Pornanong Phatlum, Ariya Jutanugarn, Moriya Jutanugarn, Patcharajutar Kongkraphan and Thidapa Suwannapura were able to retain their places on the Tour.

Budsabakorn Sukapan, Benyapa Niphatsophon, Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras and Nontaya Srisawang earned their LPGA Tour cards after impressive results at last month's Q-school.

It is the first time that Thailand has nine golfers on the LPGA Tour, and there is a growing expectation that the Kingdom may celebrate its first ever winner on the Tour this year.

The Thais have come close in the past but faltered shortly before crossing the finish line with last year's Bahamas Classic seeing Ariya being elbowed aside following a three-way play-off.

At the 2015 Bahamas Classic, South Korea's Kim Sei-Young teed off at the final hole at 13-under par with compatriot Yoo Sun-Young and Ariya sitting in the clubhouse at 14-under par.

A chip from the front greenside rough to three feet set up a birdie putt to earn Kim a spot in the play-off, which she won on the first hole to demote Ariya and Yoo to joint-second spot.

Once again, the Thais are aware that they can't afford to take things lightly this year.

The 2016 episode of the LPGA opener in Bahamas will see defending champion Kim, the 2015 rookie of the year, and fellow South Korean world No.2 Park In-Bee, a seven-time major winner, head the field at the US$1.4 million tournament.

The field of 108 players will feature 18 of the top 25 from the 2015 LPGA money list and 14 of the top 25 in the world rankings.

Apart from second-ranked Park and No.7 Kim, the others in the field include three more top-10 players in the world rankings: No.3 Stacy Lewis, No.4 Lexi Thompson and No.10 Kim Hyo-Joo.

Ariya Jutanugarn


The 20-year-old Ariya is once again being seen as Thailand's top bet to deliver an LPGA title.

At the age of 17, she squandered a great chance with a last-hole triple bogey to hand the title to Park In-Bee in front of the local fans at the 2013 Honda LPGA Thailand.

Ariya, who is in her second year on the Tour, said she will be sparing no effort to win her maiden LPGA title this year.

"It is my second year on the Tour and I am more motivated and more experienced to make a bid for a title," she said.

"I will also be making an all-out effort to move into the top 30 on the money list."

Midway through the 2015 season, Ariya went through a bad patch of nightmarish proportions when she missed the cut in 10 tournaments in a row.

She then fought back in an impressive fashion in the later part of the year and surpassed Pornanong to finish in 35th place on the money list, the highest among the Thai players.

Ariya said: "I realise how tough the fields are at the LPGA tournaments and how good or bad I can be. However, I do hope for better results this year.

"I am confident and I have the potential to realise my dreams."

Moriya Jutanugarn


Her elder sister Moriya, who ended the year in 64th place on the money list, echoed a similar commitment, saying experience and good plans can help improve her title chances.

"I learned a lot in my first three years on the Tour. I know what I need to improve and how to correct my game," said Moriya, who recorded two top-10 finishes last year.

She added: "My goal is to finish the year among the top 40 on the money list and, if possible, I would want win a title as well."

Pornanong Phatlum


The 27-year-old Pornanong, the most experienced Thai on the Tour, also came close last season when she finished joint second at the Portland Classic. She was also a runner-up at the LPGA Malaysia in 2014.

The Chaiyaphum-born Pornanong, who has been on the Tour since 2009, was disappointed with her performance last year when she failed to meet her target of finishing among the top 20.

"Things did not go as expected last year and left me somewhat exhausted," she said.

Looking ahead to the start of her eighth LPGA Tour season at the Bahamas Classic, Pornanong claimed she is better prepared both physically and technically this year.

"This year, I have changed all my equipment with the exception of the wedge and the putter. I am driving longer and feel more comfortable with the new set," said Pornanong.

"Physically, I feel better after the long lay-off. Mentally, I am ready to start the season."

Budsabakorn Sukapan


Tour novice Budsabakorn, who was a member of the team that won the gold at the 2014 Asian Games, said she has been practising a lot since turning pro a year ago.

Her efforts have paid dividends in the form of two professional tournament victories on the Chinese LPGA Tour and an LPGA Tour card.

"The LPGA Tour is the place I want to be as a golfer and my next step is to win a title," said the 18-year-old Budsabakorn from Chiang Rai.

With her first LPGA Tour event as a full member nearing, she admitted to be suffering from a bout of nerves.

"I think I am well prepared both physically and technically. I get a lot of support from my family and sponsors,'' said the teenager.

"The Bahamas Classic is my first event, so I am naturally getting excited and nervous.

"It will pass and things will get better. I want to go out and give it my best shot."

Like other rookies, Budsabakorn also hopes to start her career with a big bang and she is hoping to at least keep her card for the 2017 season.

Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras


Pannarat, who turned 18 last month, is also working hard to get ready for the challenge of the LPGA Tour.

The Roi Et teenager said getting the Tour card had come a bit early in her career, but added: "I am ready for it now.

“I am doing well during practice, focusing on the short game and putting.

“I will try not to put too much pressure on myself by setting myself big targets. Let’s see how things go and what I can manage this year."

Nontaya, Benyapa and Pannarat will miss the season opener and plan to start their quests at next month's women's Australian Open, the third event of the 2016 LPGA season.
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