Boonchu heading for Samui showpiece
SAMUI, Thailand - Veteran Boonchu Ruangkit will be aiming to hand out a golfing lesson to his young rivals in this week's Queen’s Cup.
After appearances in America and Ireland in the past fortnight, the 54-year-old Thai is set to return home to headline the field in the US$300,000 Asian Tour tournament at the Santiburi Samui Country Club in Koh Samui from June 17-20.
“I've got two King's Trophy titles, so I want at least one Queen's Cup,” said Boonchu, a five-time Asian Tour winner who tops this year's European Senior Tour Order of Merit having won three times.
“All Thai players are proud to play in this event and everyone will aim to win the tournament as it is very important to us. I want to win it as well but this course will favor the strong and fit players because it is hilly and challenging,” said Boonchu, who is regarded as the "Godfather" of Thai golf.
Among those joining Boonchu in the starting line-up in Samui will be Scotland’s Simon Yates and Singapore’s Mardan Mamat, both seasoned performers on the Asian Tour.
Yates, 40, is one of the Asian Tour’s most successful international golfers and lies in seventh position on the career earnings list. He was blighted by injuries over the past few years but produced a polished performance at last season’s King’s Cup in Thailand where he finished tied second, losing out to Chinese Taipei's Chan Yih-shin in a playoff.
After a slow start to the season, two-time Asian Tour winner Mardan has found form, highlighted by a tied sixth place finish at the Ballantine’s Championship in Korea, his first top-10 this season. He is in 10th place on this year's Order of Merit.
Also taking part in the tournament, which is held in honor of her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s 78th birthday anniversary, are defending champion Chinnarat Phadungsil of Thailand, Australian Andrew Dodt, the highest ranked player in the tournament, Tetsuji Hiratsuka of Japan and rising Indian star Anirban Lahiri.