A Week of Firsts in Phuket

The JGTA Phuket Junior Open was a week of firsts in JGTA history. This marks the first time that players from Thailand have won a JGTA event, the first time that a JGTA event finished in a sudden-death playoff, and the first time that AJGA PBE Status per final ranking on the JGTA Junior Order of merit has landed on Thai soil at Laguna Golf Phuket.

A two-hole sudden-death playoff between Bhitchayoot Sima-Aree (2019) of Nonthaburi, Thailand and Yu Yu Chen (2022) of Taoyuan, Taiwan closed out the JGTA Phuket Junior Open. This is the first playoff in JGTA history and it was streamed on Facebook Live in its entirety.

Sima-Aree bested Chen, making a clutch putt for par on the second hole of the playoff. Sima-Aree entered Sunday one-under-par after a second-round score of 66 and finished the tournament at even par. “I wanted to thank the JGTA for running this event and Laguna Golf Club for allowing us to play this course” Said Sima-Aree. This is Sima-Aree’s first time playing on the Junior Golf Tour of Asia.

Natachanok Tunwannarux (2023) of Bangkok, Thailand won the Girl’s Division. Tunwannarux, one of the youngest players in the field, shot scores of 74-70-69 for an even-par tournament total of 213. On hole 16, Tunwannarux made a clutch putt for par that gave her a two-stroke lead over second-place finisher Camille Boyd going into hole 17. “I wanted to thank the JGTA for providing great competition and the opportunity to earn AJGA PBE. I also wanted to thank my parents for supporting me and my golf goals” said Tunwannarux.

Tunwannarux finished T2 at the JGTA Taiwan Junior Championship. This win will significantly impact her ranking in the JGTA Junior Order of Merit – the source for AJGA PBE Status in Asia.

Surapa Janthamunee (2021) of Phuket, Thailand matched her first-round score of 73 and is currently in third place. Chloe Chan (2021) of Hong Kong fired a second-round score of 72, which puts her at six-over-par for the tournament.