The well-conditioned Plantation Course at Siam Country Club received plaudits from players and officials at the Singha Corporation Thailand Open.
The 45th staging of one of the region’s most revered golf tournaments boasted prize money of US$1 million and was jointly sanctioned by OneAsia and the Japan Golf Tour Organisation.
Sculpted by Schmidt-Curley Design, and opened in April 2008, the Plantation Course has frequently been ranked among the leading courses in Thailand.
Tournament Director David Parkin, OneAsia’s Director of Tour Operations, led the chorus of approval for the course.
Parkin said: “The real test for this golf course is the greens, they are quite undulating. On the Tuesday of tournament week they were running at 11.6 on the Stimpmeter. The guys said that the greens were fantastic. We managed them well and kept them at that sort of speed.
“The set-up was excellent. The course condition was very, very good. And they have a very good team at Siam Country Club, led by Boonthong Ngamsaprang, the course superintendent.”
Victory went to Korean Kim Kyung-tae after a thrilling final-day head-to-head battle with his young compatriot Wang Jeung-hun.
Kim, better known as KT, shot a closing seven-under-par 65 to post a winning total of 21-under.
“My approach shots were very good and that is key on this course. The greens are difficult so you must land your ball in the right places on the green,” said Kim, who reached number 18 on the Official World Golf Ranking in 2011 and had two top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour.
Among other players to offer praise for the course were China’s Zhang Xin-jun and Malaysian Danny Chia.
Zhang, one of China’s leading players who triumphed in last year’s Beijing Open on the PGA Tour of China, said: “The course is very beautiful. The greens are a big challenge. They are very fast.”
Chia added: “I like the golf course and I especially like these greens. They were rolling so true – what you see is what you get. You just need to get the ball rolling and once they are on line they are in.”
The Thailand Open was the fifth high-profile Schmidt-Curley Design course to have hosted a major professional event in 2015.
The sequence began in the last week of February when Korean Amy Yang held off Stacy Lewis and Tseng Ya-ni to win the LPGA Tour’s Honda LPGA Thailand. That event was held over the Siam Country Club’s Pattaya Old Course, close by to the Plantation Course.
Two weeks later, the LPGA Tour returned Stateside with the Faldo Course at the Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa playing host to the JTBC Founders Cup.
Featuring generous fairways, large greens and 108 deep pot bunkers, the course was sculpted in conjunction with Schmidt-Curley Design.
Back in Asia in late March, the Blackstone Course at China’s Mission Hills Hainan was the scene of Korean Ryu So-yeon’s triumph in the World Ladies Championship.
Meanwhile, in the first week of April the venue’s Sandbelt Trails Course had the honour of hosting the Buick Open, the opening leg of the 2015 PGA Tour China Series won by New Zealander Josh Geary.
Curley said: “We are honoured that so many of our courses continue to be selected as venues for top-level professional tournaments.”
Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA, Schmidt-Curley Design has two fully-staffed China offices (in Haikou and Kunming) to promote quicker mobilisation, lower travel costs and other valuable advantages over competitors.
Among its many accolades, Schmidt-Curley Design has been honoured as GOLF Magazine’s ‘Architect of the Year’ and Asian Golf Monthly’s ‘Best Golf Course Architects’ for the past four years in succession.
Schmidt-Curley Design www.schmidt-curley.com