Region’s Best Prepare for AAC

The best amateur golfers from the Asia Pacific region, including three players ranked in the top ten of the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) will travel to Longkou, China, for the 2013 Asia Pacific Amateur Championship to be held from 24-27 October.

Leading players from the 37 Asia Pacific Golf Confederation-affiliated organisations will congregate at the Nanshan International Golf Club to compete for the region’s premier amateur golf championship, which was won by Chinese sensation Guan Tianlang last year.

As hosts, China will be represented by 10 of its top talents, led by the defending champion Guan, who will be joined by 16-year-old Dou Zecheng. Having recorded a credible tied-18th finish a year ago at the AAC, Dou has enjoyed a solid 2013 so far and is full of confidence after his recent win at the China Unicom Woo Pro-Am Championship:

“I think if I play well, I am not afraid to compete against the very best players in our region. I can’t say I will beat them, but I believe I am not too far behind. I will try my best at this year’s Asia Pacific Amateur Championship”.

Korea’s challenge will be spearheaded by Lee Soo-min, Kim Gyu-Bin and Lee Chang-Woo, who finished sixth, tied-14th and tied-18th respectively, at the 2012 AAC, which was played at the Amata Spring Country Club in Thailand. Lee Chang-Woo is the country’s current number one amateur, and ranked 33rd in the WAGR. In all, Korea will have six representatives at this year’s championship with the other three gunning for glory being Kim Nam-hun, Koo Kyo-won and Kim Tae-woo.

Team Japan, with six players, will be without its hero Hideki Matsuyama. The two-time AAC Champion turned professional in April this year and has already recorded three professional tournament wins, and top-20 finishes in all three Majors in which he participated. Eric Sugimoto, a sophomore at the University of the Pacific in the United States and Japan’s top amateur, will lead Kenta Konishi, Taihei Sato, Mikumu Horikawa, Shohei Hasegawa and Kazuya Koura to challenge for the coveted title. Horikawa, a 20-year-old junior at Nihon University who began playing golf when he was six years old, was his country’s best performer last year with a 4-under-par total of 284 to tie for 13th place.

Thailand will once again send a strong contingent to the championship with three of the country’s top five finishers in 2012 returning for a chance at the title. Nattawat Suvajanakorn, who was Thailand’s top finisher last year and the country’s number three-ranked amateur, will be joined by Poom Saksansin and Danthai Boonma, tied-18th and tied-33rd in 2012, respectively, as well as Itthipat Buranatanyarat, Tawan Phongphun and Sarit Suwannarut.

Australia’s leading players are Brady Watt and Oliver Goss, ranked sixth and seventh in the WAGR respectively. The latter finished third in 2012 with an impressive 12-under par total of 276. Notably, both were semi-finalists at the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship. Goss would prevail, and though he was not victorious in the finals, he did earn an invitation to the 2014 Masters Tournament.

Pan Cheng-tsung, Asia’s highest-ranked amateur golfer in the world at number five, and last year’s runner-up by just one stroke, will lead five others representing Chinese Taipei at Nanshan.

Organized by the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the Masters Tournament and The R&A, the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship winner receives an invitation to the Masters the following year and, along with the runner(s)-up, advances to International Final Qualifying for The Open Championship.

Each year, invitations for the championship are sent to the leading players from the APGC-member countries. Each country is automatically provided with two positions, which are to be filled by their highest-ranked players from the WAGR. If there is only one or no players from a member country in the rankings, they are able to nominate one or two players accordingly provided the player/s have a handicap of 5.4 or less.

The remainder of the field is filled by taking the next highest ranked players from the WAGR with the maximum number of players allowed from a country being six. The only exception is for the host country which is allowed to nominate an additional four players.

The AAC will be broadcast across 150 countries and reach millions of homes around the world. Asian Tour Media will produce the high-definition broadcast, including two hours of live coverage on each of the four competition days. A 30-minute highlight show will also be created after the conclusion of the event, all of which makes the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship the most televised amateur golf tournament in the world.

With a host of broadcast partners across the globe, fans can follow their favorite amateur golfers on TV channels covering key markets in six continents. Live coverage will be broadcast on 24 and 25 October between 1430 and 1630 and from 1600 to 1800 on 26 and 27 October across Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, North America and South America (all times UTC/GMT +8 hours).

Fox Sports will provide tournament coverage in China and across Asia, Australia and the Middle East, while viewers in Japan, South Korea and New Zealand can catch the action on Tokyo Broadcasting System, SBS Golf and Sky Sports, respectively. In Europe, the tournament is distributed through Sky Sports in the United Kingdom and CNBC across continental Europe. Other broadcasters include ESPN2 (United States), ESPN (Latin America), TSN (Canada) and SuperSport (Southern Africa). All of the coverage will also be streamed live on the official event Web site, www.AACgolf.com.

Additionally, visit the AAC entries list to see a complete list of competitors.

BROOKLINE, MA - AUGUST 18: Oliver Goss of Australia confers with Brady Watt from the 7th tee box in the first round of the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship at The Country Club on August 18, 2013 in Brookline, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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