Simi Mehra spearheads Indian challenge at Thai Ladies golf


Bangkok : With India’s men golfer riding a wave, Simi Mehra, the country’s best known woman professional, will tee off at the $120,000 Thailand Ladies Open at The Vintage Club near here. The three-round event begins Wednesday.

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Simi, one of the main movers behind professional women’s golf in India, will also be teeing off at the DLF Women’s Indian Open next month.

Heading the star cast at the Thailand Ladies Open will be Sunny Park, an Australian of Korean origin. Park, who turned pro last year after winning the Australian Women’s Amateur Open, made a great start in 2008 as she captured the Australian Ladies Professional Golf-sanctioned Kangaroo Valley Peugeot Classic to register her first win as a professional.

Come Wednesday, Park will be vying for a back-to-back win as she tees off in the Thailand Ladies Open.

Park said she’s not being complacent. She said: “The over 120 players taking part here have good records. Some of them have even won several tournaments and play in the USLPGA, JLPGA, KLPGA and the Ladies European Tour.

“However, it’s really good to see that there a wide mix of nationalities – from over 15 countries – playing in the Thailand Ladies Open.”

Spicing up the 54-hole tournament is China’s Zhang Na, now aptly called by friends ‘millionaire’ golfer. From Beijing, Zhang in her maiden season in the JLPGA Tour registered four wins and finished fourth on the money list by earning over $800,000.

Among the past winners on the Ladies Asian Golf Tour taking part in the Thailand Ladies Open are, Libby Smith of the US, the winner of last year’s Hong Ladies Masters, Kim Hae-jung of Korea, the 2006 winner of the Orient Zhuhai Open, and Pornanong Phatlum, who won the Hong Kong Ladies Masters in 2006 as an amateur.

Hosts Thailand lead the strong field with 24 players including six amateurs.