Sport

Local tours’ officials hopeful of end-of-June restart

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The domestic golf competitions will resume later this month, officials said yesterday.

The government, via the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), has allowed sports events to take place without spectators.

However, to stage a tournament, organisers have to submit their plans to combat the coronavirus spread and ensure safety for all parties involved.

Pinyada Kuvanun during practice.

“We have been closely monitoring the situation and working hard in an attempt to organise a tournament as soon as possible,” said Methee Sudasna Na Ayudhya, president of the Professional Golf Association of Thailand, which runs the Thai PGA Tour.

Methee added that his organisation, the All Thailand Golf Tour (ATGT) and the Thailand Ladies Professional Golf Association, which manages the Thai LPGA Tour, have jointly submitted their safety plan to the CCSA and the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) for approval.

“It is likely to take one or two weeks,” Methee said.

“We will be able to organise tournaments when the safety plan is approved.”

The Thailand Development Tour is scheduled to return with an event from June 30-July 1 with the qualifying round on June 29, Methee said.

A Thai PGA Tour event, to be competed over 54 holes instead of 72, is planned to take place from July 3-5 with the qualifying round on July 2.

Both tournaments will be held at Watermill Golf Club and Resort in Nakhon Nayok.

The Thai PGA Tour also plans to have two tournaments in the same week, Methee said.

“This is for safety reasons and to help participants save costs,” he said.

ATGT commissioner Jakkrapong Thongyai said the players’ safety and health is the tour’s priority.

“If our plan gets approval, the tour will resume with the Thongchai Jaidee Foundartion tournament from July 9-12,” he said.

Thai LPGA president Krisada Tanwilai said everything was in place for tournament golf to make a comeback.

The proposed safety measures would require golfers to undergo temperature screenings and they would not have to exchange scorecards, he said.

“We will try to reduce physical contact,” said Krisada, who became Thai LPGA president in March.

“The Thai LPGA Tour will return early next month.”

Golfer Pinyada Kuvanun poses during a practice session.

Pinyada Kuvanun, who turned pro last year after graduating from the University of Toledo in the US, said she was confident the association will be able to handle the situation well and have good measures in place to battle the coronavirus.

“We have been waiting for a long time to play golf,” said the Khon Kaen native.

“Certainly, I am very happy that competitions will soon resume.”

Due to the Covid-19 crisis and travel restrictions, she will focus on the Thai LPGA Tour instead of the Symetra Tour (the LPGA Tour’s development circuit in the US).

“This year, I will only play on the Thai LPGA Tour,” she said.



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