Promising Thai amateur Sadom Kaewkanjana’s decision to turn professional at the end of the year seems to be set in stone – with just one condition attached. He says his plan will be put on hold until next year if he wins the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC) title.
The 10th edition of the region’s premier amateur golf tournament, created by the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC), the Masters Tournament and The R&A, will be played at the New Tanjong course at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore from 4-7 October.
The highest-ranked Asian in the field, the 19-year-old is currently 12th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), second only to Australia’s 11th-ranked Min Woo Lee. As many as 14 out of the 18 players from the region ranked inside the top-100 have qualified for the championship.
Kaewkanjana, a native of Bangkok, has enjoyed plenty of success in the past two years. He secured victories at the professional 2017 Singha Pattaya Open on the All Thailand Golf Tour, the Dutch International Junior Open, the All-India Amateur Championship and the Malaysian Amateur Open.
He finished tied for 19th at last year’s AAC in Wellington, and is definitely looking for a much better finish at Sentosa Golf Club.
“I really don’t think too much about results when I am playing golf, but yes, I want to give my very best at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship,” said the always-smiling Thai teenager after finishing sixth in the men’s individual category of the recently concluded Asian Games in Jakarta.
“I have played very good golf at the amateur level over the past two years. Now is the time to step up and I had made up my mind towards the end of 2017 to turn professional after this year’s Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship. I hope to qualify for the Asian Tour, and probably the Japan Golf Tour, later in November and December.
“But all that will change if I do win the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship. Playing in the Masters and The Open is a dream of every golfer. They are the two biggest tournaments that we know of. I will remain an amateur until I have played The Open.”
The champion in Singapore earns an invitation to the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club and a place in The 148th Open at Royal Portrush in 2019, provided he retains his amateur status. The runner(s)-up will gain a spot in The Open Qualifying Series.
No player from Thailand has ever won the AAC and the best result in the previous nine editions for the country is seventh place by Sangchai Keawcharoen in 2015 and by KK Limbhasut a year later in Korea.
Kaewkanjana’s coach, Kris Assawapimonporn, was confident Kaewkanjana can better that mark.
“If he is playing well in Singapore, we will be expecting him to win. However, we have a goal of finishing in the top five,” said Kris, who is associated with the Thailand Golf Association.
“He is ready and he is playing well. I think the key for him will be the short game – how he plays in and around the greens. He is working hard on that aspect and if he can do that, I have no doubts that he will do very well in the tournament.”