Hua Hin, Thailand (December 5): Thonsaeng ‘Nua’ Nunya and Sebastian Sawtell will resume their fairway rivalry at this week’s inaugural Faldo Series Hua Hin.
The battle between Thonsaeng and Sawtell is sure to be among the highlights at Banyan Golf Club in the second in a series of three Faldo Series qualifiers staged in conjunction with international schools in Thailand that is being hosted by Shrewsbury International School Bangkok.
At Laguna Golf Phuket in September, Rugby School Thailand’s Thonsaeng topped the standings in the Boys’ Under-16 category, edging out British International School Phuket (BISP) student Sawtell.
Thonsaeng’s three-under-par total of 139 also ensured that he claimed overall honours. For good measure, he combined with team-mates Intuch ‘In’ Srisuriyachai and Jakkarin ‘Son’ Jitmaneekan to clinch victory for Rugby School Thailand in the Boys’ Team Division.
At the 36-hole tournament in Hua Hin that is the ninth event of the 2019-20 Faldo Series Asia season, Sawtell and his BISP colleagues will be aiming to turn the tables.
Also expected to feature prominently at Banyan Golf Club are Fai Rubrong (Norwich International School Bangkok) and Nicha Thawinwan (Phuket Academy International School) along with Shrewsbury International duo Vicky Tip-Aucha (Girls’ Under-21) and rising star TK Chantananuwat (Boys’ Under-16).
The final leg of the qualifying trilogy will take place in Pattaya in February, 2020.
Combined performances of players in the tournaments in Phuket, Hua Hin and Pattaya will be reflected in an Order of Merit from which five age-group category winners will progress to the 14th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Vietnam’s Laguna Lăng Cô in March, 2020.
There they will join winners from the standalone Faldo Series Thailand Championship, led by Weerawish Narkprachar who topped the standings at Bangkok’s Watermill Golf Club & Resort in June.
The trio of Faldo Series Thailand Championship qualifiers are being run by Golf Development Asia (GDA) and Fore Management Group, both Bangkok-based companies that specialise in organising junior tournaments.
Each of the three events will allocate a maximum of 100 spots to international schools in Thailand and 40 for other entries. International schools teams that are part of the existing International Schools’ Golf Tour (ISGT) will also be able to win team Order of Merit points towards the ISGT season.
In addition to BISP, Rugby School Thailand and Shrewsbury International School Bangkok, representatives from 10 other schools will take part at Banyan Golf Club.
Fredrik Edmunds, Director of Golf Development Asia, said: “We’re excited to see a strong field return for the second Faldo Series event in Hua Hin, with more International Schools entering teams.
“Banyan will provide a great test for the golfers as they fight for the valuable Order of Merit points. With only one event in the Series remaining after this, now is the time for players to get themselves into contention to try win their Asia Grand Final spot.”
The 2019-20 Faldo Series Asia season is supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation. The International Junior Golf Academy is a partner of the Faldo Series.
As well as a series of qualifiers in Thailand, the FSA schedule includes two events in China and championships in Australia, Bangladesh, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.
Recognised as the only global amateur series for boys and girls, the Faldo Series was established in 1996, expanding to Asia in 2006.
Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching more than 7,000 golfers each year. Past champions include Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, both multiple Major winners, while recent LPGA Tour winners include Thidapa Suwannapura (2010 Faldo Series Asia Grand Final Girls’ champion) and Nasa Hataoka (2016 Faldo Series Asia Grand Final Girls’ champion) who claimed her third LPGA Tour title in March.