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Phuket Sports: Wood claims maiden victory at Thailand Open

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Sports: Wood claims maiden victory at Thailand Open | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Englishman Chris Wood claimed the first win of his professional career yesterday with a two-shot victory in a rain-interrupted US$1million Thailand Open, breaking the hearts of home fans hoping for the first Thai champion in eight years.

The 24-year-old European Tour regular – competing in a OneAsia Tour event for the first time – fired rounds of 67, 64, 67 and 67 for a 23-under par total of 265. However preferred lies were allowed because of soggy conditions at the 6,471 meter (7,077 yard) Suwan Golf & Country Club.

Thais Arnond Vongvanij and Wisut Artjanawat battled to catch Wood, but had to settle for a share of third place with Korean Lee Dong-hwan .

Alone in second was Jang Dong-kyu, also of Korea, who completed the first nine holes in just 29 shots to card a closing 63 and the best result of his career.

“It is brilliant – I am really, really pleased,” said Wood, after what appeared to be a victory march from the 17, which was interrupted by a rain delay of over an hour.

“It is hard winning. I always felt that once I got one win it would give me the confidence to go on and win more. So, hopefully I can take this confidence back to the remainder of the tournaments I have got for the season.”

Wood, one of five European Tour regulars competing in the event, was four under after six holes, but gave his rivals a glimmer of hope with a bogey on the eighth.

At the 11th, however, he put one hand on the winner’s cheque of over US$181,000 with a birdie putt of around 30 feet – and effectively pocketed it with an even longer effort on 15.

“It was a tough putt, but I putted really nicely this week.

“I think I have turned the corner in my putting, which has let me down all season. I have been playing as well as I have done this week but without converting chances. It is nice to convert a few. I always knew once I cracked the putting I would be winning and this week proved my point,” he said.

Thailand has not produced a home winner of the National Open since Boonchu Ruangkit won his second in 2004, and the only other local winner of the event, Suthep Meesawat (1991), was at the course to watch his son, Prom, try to emulate that feat.

The “Big Dolphin”, as Prom is known locally, was in the lead after two rounds, but could go no better than par over the weekend to slip down the leader board.

His close friends Wisut and Arnond took up the challenge, but the pressure of winning a trophy with spiritual significance for Thais because it was donated by the much-revered King, proved too much.

“Just a few players played a little better than I did, so [there are] a lot of positives to take away from the Thailand Open,” said Arnond, who went to college in the United States.

“I birdied the first three holes on the back nine and I did start to think at that time that I could win, but the thoughts disappeared pretty quickly.

“I was just trying to focus on the next shot. I figured if I could focus on the next shot and do what I was doing and the putts dropped, great. I just came up a few short.”

Wisut, winner of the ASEAN PGA Tour Order of Merit last year, was also buoyant despite missing two putts on the last two holes that could have made all the difference.

“I can’t complain as this is my best ever result in a tournament at this level,” said Wisut.

“I am very happy as my game is really improving and this week will give me a lot of confidence to continue to produce results like this. It is a breakthrough for me.”

At four under, the cut was the lowest in OneAsia’s history – reflecting the strength of a field that was also bolstered by the presence of 20 Japan Tour players as part of a growing relationship between the two circuits.

Thai Open winner Wood turned professional in 2008 after finishing fifth in the Open Championship and then underscored his potential by bettering that the following year when he just missed out on making a play-off with Stewart Cink and Tom Watson at Turnberry. With a second and third place finish on the European tour this year, it was only a matter of time before he broke his duck.

Thailand Open defending champion Andre Stolz of Australia, who went on the win the OneAsia Order of Merit title last year, finished at eleven under after closing with a 67, his best round of the week.

The day belonged to Wood, who plans a break with his family to celebrate the win.

“I am going home for a week, a bit of rest, share it with my family and then onto Gleneagles in Scotland for a tournament,” he said.

By media release.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent

Bill Barnett

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Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent | The Thaiger

Bill Barnett from c9hotelworks.com continues to follow the difficult journey of the Thai hospitality industry. Traditionally, now would be the start of the country’s highly profitable high season for the tourism industry. But not this year. Thai hotels find themselves in the middle of an existential crisis – either still closed, only partly open, or one of the few converted to limited ASQ traffic. The situation is dire, when you consider that between 15-20% of Thailand’s GDP is linked to tourism.

In a speech this week Thailand’s Prime Minster Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke clearly that only when a vaccine is approved, produced, and implemented, would the country open to substantial tourism. Given the current timelines and forecasts, this may not be likely until mid-2021 at the earliest, though subject to advancement if the process could be accelerated, which is unlikely.

For tourism and hotel stakeholders, the writing is on the wall that 2021, for the most part, will see a continued reliance on domestic travellers, and only in 2022 will there be a large-scale return in numbers of overseas visitors.

Given the winter spike in Asia, Europe, and North America of Covid-19, Thailand is not alone in relying on the vaccine to return tourism but the process will not be instant and the re-openings of borders will most certainly be staged.

HERE’s a list of 113 Alternative State Quarantine hotels.

The business reality for Phuket and across Thailand is to plan for the worst in the coming six months and only expect 2022 to see a notable uptick.

Currently, the hotel sector continues to advocate to the Thai government and Central Bank for debt and financing relief measures and assistance in a social security supplement to retain staff.

While it’s negative news, it at least allows for hotels to understand the challenges ahead, plan and adjust their operating models going forward. ‘Survive the downturn’ is the new mantra.

No vaccine, no entry. Read more HERE.

No vaccine, no flight. Read more HERE.

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Phuket

Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: ประชาสัมพันธ์ เทศบาลตำบลวิชิต

Hundreds of residents in Phuket’s Wichit subdistrict attended a workshop focused on reducing stress from to the pandemic-induced economic crisis. A psychologist was even on site to help those who had extreme mental stress and a Buddhist monk taught meditation techniques to reduce physiological effects of stress.

The event was planned in response to an online survey conducted by the municipality asking residents about how much stress they were experiencing from the economic climate. They found that some residents had serious stress issues brought on by the pandemic and financial problems, according to Wichit Mayor Kreetha Chotiwichphiphat.

“The loss of income due to the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 situation has resulted in some people in the area suffering serious stress, which can lead to serious mental health issues.”

Around 350 people attended the event. The mayor says it was the first step in caring for the residents’ mental health. Local officials plan to hold similar workshops in the future.

“It was a good opportunity for people to realise the importance of mental health and to learn techniques of how to deal with stress, which will help people to maintain their physical health and avoid developing mental health problems.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | The Thaiger

The Soi Dog Foundation has officially opened its Humane Education Centre, the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to the welfare of stray animals. The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education program. Rolled out in 2017, the program sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.

The program has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.

Co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and cats and education of, particularly, the next generation.

“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”

John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.

Humane Education Manager Nuttawut “Film” Kumngern. said… “We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment.”

“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”

Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email film@soidog.org

Phuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The ThaigerPhuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The Thaiger

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