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Varanyu holds commanding lead at Singha Laguna Phuket Open

Tanutam Thawan

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Varanyu holds commanding lead at Singha Laguna Phuket Open | The Thaiger
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Thailand’s Varanyu Rattanaphaibulkij maintained his position at the top with his second round of nine-under-par 61 at the Singha Laguna Phuket Open on Friday.

The 21-year-old Thai carded a flawless round with seven birdies and one eagle to lead the field by seven strokes on a 17-under-par 123 total at the 2 million baht (approx. USD64,000) event co-sanctioned by the Asian Development Tour (ADT) and the All Thailand Golf Tour.

Compatriot Nitithorn Thippong proved relentless in his pursuit of a second ADT win when he returned with a solid round of 66 to take second-place on his own, while Sweden’s Oscar Zetterwall took third place following a 67 at Laguna Phuket.

Starting on the back nine, Varanyu eagled hole 14 after a good drive and solid approach with his five-iron left him with a three-footer tap-in. He made the turn at three-under after a birdie on 18 and would follow with six birdies for an inward 29.

“I was hitting everything solid and I played the three par-5s on this course very well and managed to hit the green in two shots on all of them. I enjoy playing this course and being on home ground. Especially since my mother is out here to watch me this week so I want to do well,” said Varanyu.

Varanyu holds commanding lead at Singha Laguna Phuket Open | News by The Thaiger

His low round which topped his opening 62, marked his lowest tournament round he achieved since he turned professional in 2015 and he credits his brother, nicknamed “Benz”, who is on his bag this week.

“I wasn’t nervous at all and I just stuck to my game plan of making fairways and greens. Benz and I were reading the lines well on the greens and I trusted him,” said Varanyu who is vying for a maiden win.

ADT winner Nitithorn mixed his card with six birdies and one double-bogey on the second hole when he pushed his eight-iron into the hazard.

“I was playing steady golf all day except for one missed shot. The pin was tucked in the right side and there was a hazard to the right of the green. I told myself to keep it short and hit it left but I pushed it right instead. But I made 16 greens today which was key for me and there were a lot of positives from the round,” said the 21-year-old.

Playing in the same group tomorrow, the Thai hotshot is ready to put up a good fight against his close friend Varanyu, who played junior golf with him before he joined the play-for-pay ranks.

“I am happy to be playing with him tomorrow since I haven’t seen him in a while. He is playing so well and I want to try and catch up with him tomorrow on moving day,” added Nitithorn.

The halfway cut was set at one-over-par 141 with a total of 57 players qualifying for the final two rounds.

The Singha Laguna Phuket Open is the eighth leg of the 2018 ADT schedule and the tour’s first stop in Thailand this year. Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points are offered on all ADT events with the winner earning a total of six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earn points on a sliding scale.

The leading five players on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2019 season.

Varanyu holds commanding lead at Singha Laguna Phuket Open | News by The Thaiger
Leading round two scores
123 – Varanyu RATTANAPHIBOONKIJ (THA) 62 61
130 – Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) 64 66
131 – Oscar ZETTERWALL (SWE) 64 67
133 – Samarth DWIVEDI (IND) 65 68, Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 66 67
135 – Worrasorn SUWANPANANG (THA) 68 67, Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) 68 67, Simon YATES (SCO) 67 68, Chaiphat KOONMARK (THA) 70 65, Pawin INGKHAPRADIT (THA) 66 69

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Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

Bangkok

Parliament to discuss political protests in 2-day special session

Caitlin Ashworth

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Parliament to discuss political protests in 2-day special session | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Esan Unity

The Thai Parliament is now holding a 2 day ’emergency’ parliamentary session to discuss the ongoing pro-democracy protests. House Speaker Chuan Leekpai says he wants MPs and senators to work together to find a solution, but some commentators say it will just cause more conflict between parties.

The joint House-Senate session will be a general debate and discussion from 9:30 am today until 10 pm. No votes will take place during the meetings today or tomorrow. The special session was scheduled in response to the political protests that have been taken place almost daily since October 14. Protesters have calling on government reformation and a rewrite of the 2017 Constitution. They’ve also been pushing on PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign.

The protesters have addressed sensitive topics during their demonstrations regarding the Thai Monarchy, with some statements that could lead to arrest. Under Thailand’s strict lèse majesté law, insults and criticism about the Monarchy are prohibited. The politicians will not touch on the sensitive issues, according to chief government whip Wirat Ratanset. He added that MPs are mature enough to do their job constructively without breaking the law.

“However, if any of them are careless when they speak about those sensitive issues during the session, they will be doing so at their own risk and must take responsibility as they will not be afforded the protection of parliamentary immunity.”

Pheu Thai secretary-general Prasert Jantararuangtong also said party MPs will watch what they say, careful not to bring up issues about the Monarchy during the debate.

The House speaker says that some MPs have disagreed with holding a special session, saying it could cause an argument between the politicians that would do more harm than good.

“I told the MPs they must try to prevent that by cooperating and presenting useful ideas. This is not a censure debate.”

The deputy leader of the main opposition Pheu Thai Party, Cholnan Srikaew also said he does not think the debate will not help move things forward.

“The motion is like an attempt to whitewash (the government’s actions). Of the total 23 hours of debate, the opposition parties get only eight hours while cabinet ministers are given five hours, the Senate gets five hours, and parties of the coalition camp get five hours. This means 15 hours versus eight hours.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Officials to choose “low risk” countries for possible reduction in quarantine

Maya Taylor

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Officials to choose “low risk” countries for possible reduction in quarantine | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

The Thai government is to compile a list of countries considered “low risk” for the Covid-19 virus, as it considers a reduction in the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for foreign arrivals. Nation Thailand reports that, once finalised, the Public Health Ministry will submit its list to the Interior Ministry, who will use it to decide the criteria for reduced quarantine.

Danucha Pichayanan, from the National Economic and Social Development Council, says there must be clear criteria for the admission of foreign visitors to the Kingdom. Currently, all those arriving must carry out 14 days’ quarantine, regardless of the Covid-19 situation in their country of origin.

It’s understood the government’s Centre for Economic Situation Administration is considering a proposal from the private sector to ease up on some entry restrictions for foreign investors and businesspeople, including a reduction in the quarantine period.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 or 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the south’s battered economy. The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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