The scenic and challenging Santiburi Samui Country Club will once again welcome the stars of the Asian Tour in next week’s Queen’s Cup.
The ninth edition of the popular tournament takes place June 15-18 with a record prize fund of US$500,000 and arguably its strongest ever field. Indian star SSP Chawrasia and title holder Scott Hend will be among the favourites but they will be challenged by a host of other Asian Tour winners including Thai stalwart Prayad Marksaeng who is a Queen’s Cup double champion, India’s Shiv Kapur and long-hitting Australian Todd Sinnott.
Hend won the Asian Tour Order of Merit last year and he will be joined by former winners Jeev Milkha Singh of India, Filipino Juvic Pagunsan and Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand.
Chawrasia, who successfully retained his Hero Indian Open title in March, is renowned for his accuracy which will serve him well at the tight and demanding Samui course. The likeable Indian currently lies second on the Order of Merit and will have a chance to dislodge leader David Lipsky from the top of he can produce a top-two finish.
“I’m looking forward to going back to the Queen’s Cup which is one of my favourite tournaments of the year. It’s fantastic news to hear the prize fund has been increased to US$500,000 and more importantly, it will give me a great opportunity to overtake David (who is not playing),” said Chawrasia who finished tied 39th at the tournament last year and equal sixth in 2015.
“Over the years, I’ve learned how to play the golf course which rewards precision and accuracy from off the tee. I’ve always competed well there and hopefully I will play well again. I think the course is suited to my style of play.
“Being in Samui for the event is also a nice experience as it’s a great location. Apart from competing hard at the tournament, you also get a chance to enjoy some of the great tourist attractions which is a nice thing for us.”
Much attention will be on Thai rising star Rattanon Wannasrichan, following his breakthrough victory at the Thailand Open last month. the 21-year-old also has two other top-five finishes this season.
Malaysia’s Gavin Green, South African Jbe Kruger and Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang, who finished fourth on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit last season, are also in the field as with Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman, who is a regular contender in Samui, Spaniard Carlos Pigem and Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura.