Hua Hin: Thai star golfer Thongchai Jaidee believes the best way to give back to the sport which has brought him much success is to host his maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) tournament -- The Thongchai Jaidee Foundation, which gets underway here from Thursday.
A total of 156 players, including 20 invites offered by Thongchai himself, will be competing for the total prize purse of four million baht (approximately $111,808) at the majestic Black Mountain Golf Club.
"I have gained so much from playing golf in my life and I want to give back to the game now. We have to keep supporting the game for it to continue growing in future and I think hosting a tournament is a good way to do our part. I hope to play a good host next week and I really hope to see a young player winning the tournament," the 45-year-old Thongchai said in a release on Friday.
Through the staging of his own ADT event, world No.42 Thongchai also hopes to draw attention to his growing foundation -- the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation which was launched in 2009 to help the under-privileged golfers in his hometown of Lopburi.
“I have used my Foundation to help raise funds for this tournament. I am very glad to be able to host my own tournament as it creates another playing opportunity for the young golfers out here," said Thongchai, who holds an unprecedented three Order of Merit crowns and 13 Asian Tour victories.
"If I win, I will give the prize money back to my foundation for the future development of golf. The reason why I want to play in the tournament is because I want the young players to come up and challenge for the title."
Thai youngster Kiradech Aphibarnrat and reigning ADT Order of Merit champion Pavit Tangkamolprasert will join Thongchai in the star-studded field which will also feature a host of winners on the region’s burgeoning Tour, including Michael Tran of Vietnam, American Blake Snyder, Sean Riordan of New Zealand and Malaysia’s Arie Irawan.
Other notable players in the field include Australian Marcus Both, Danny Chia of Malaysia, Thai duo Thanyakon Khrongpha and Pariya Junhasavasdikul.
Thongchai is the third Asian Tour player after South Korea's K.J. Choi and compatriot Boonchu Ruangkit to host his own tournament.