Womens Amateur Asia-Pacific

Korea and Thailand joined by debutants Qatar and Lebanon at 2023 WAAP

The R&A
21 Feb 23
3 mins

Two leading nations of the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific championship Korea and Thailand return with strong teams this year whilst Qatar and Lebanon will make their debuts in the region’s premier women’s amateur championship.

The Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific (WAAP) championship, to be held at the Singapore Island Country Club from March 9-12, will once again turn the spotlight on the region’s finest talent, as well as create a platform for players from developing nations to launch their dreams and aspire to reach the highest echelons in the sport. The championship, shifted back to its original March dates after two rescheduled editions because of COVID-19-related adjustments, will feature a field of 85 players from 22 countries. For the first time it will feature two players from the top ten of the World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR) as well as 17 of the top-100 players, hailing from leading nations including Japan, Korea, Thailand, Chinese Taipei and Australia. It will also welcome players from Qatar and Lebanon – two countries making their debut in WAAP this year.

Korean hopes

In the first four editions, players from Thailand (Atthaya Thitikul), Japan (Yuka Yasuda and Mizuki Hashimoto) and Chinese Taipei (Ting-Hsuan Huang) have held aloft the sought-after trophy, and Korea, which has never had a player miss the cut at the WAAP, will be eager to get onto the Honours List.

Jiyoo Lim - Korea

"I really think one of our national team players will win, especially as they are all so talented. I think we will have good results because all the players, including me, have been working hard on winter training together.”
They have six players in the field, led by WAGR number 16 Minsol Kim and number 19 Jiyoo Lim. Both Kim and Lim have prior experience of playing in the championship. Kim finished tied 13th in Thailand last year, while Lim endured a heart-breaking final round when a quintuple-bogey 10 on the sixth hole denied her a dream winning debut as she finished five behind champion Huang.  No wonder then that the 17-year-old from Seoul, who idolises American LPGA star Nelly Korda, feels she has some unfinished business in the championship. “On the last day, I lost five shots because I was greedy on one hole. However, I did not give up until the end and played hard,” said Lim, who had closed with an eagle at Siam Country Club. “It was a lot of learning for me. I was disappointed at the time but it helped me focus on my golf skills. I understand now that while technique is important your club selection and course management are also extremely important when you are trying to win a golf tournament. I am studying that part more and I look at my experience last year as a positive motivation. “All our selected national team players are training hard in Chiang Rai, Thailand. I really think one of our national team players will win, especially as they are all so talented. I think we will have good results because all the players, including me, have been working hard on winter training together.”

Sustained Thai success

Another group of players who came out slightly disappointed, but with their heads held high in Pattaya last year, were hosts Thailand which in the four previous championships had a player finish in first or second place. Singapore holds a special place for the country, with Thitikul writing history when she won the inaugural WAAP title in 2018, then finishing runner-up in her title defence in 2019. The success story was continued by Natthakrita Vongtaveelap, who finished second in 2021 and 2022. The six-member team is now led by Pattharat Rattanwan who has won in all three of her last tournament starts.She is joined by well-known names Kan Bunnabodee, who finished tied second in Abu Dhabi, and the promising 16-year-old Eila Galitsky. Rattanwan, who won a remarkable 12 WAGR events in 2022 and never finished outside second place in any of the junior tournaments she played in the past two years, said, “The Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific championship is the biggest tournament we play in the region and I loved every minute of it when I was part of the team in Pattaya last year. “We have some very inspirational role models in this championship already and all of us are so excited that we have the chance to follow in the footsteps of players like Atthaya and Natthakritta.”
Huang Wins in Thailand | Full Highlights | Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific 2022

First-time Nations

In 2023, the championship will witness Qatar and Lebanon making their debut. Qatar’s Nada Mir, 23, is a member of the national team. A trained animal rescuer, she won the gold medal in the Pan Arab Championship last year in Tunisia. Vanessa Richani, a 21-year-old senior at Long Beach State University majoring in fashion merchandising, will be flying the Lebanese flag. Taimur Hassan Amin, Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC), was delighted with the addition of the two new nations in the championship and said, “It’s wonderful to have more countries being represented in the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific championship. It’s a sign that the game is growing and becoming more popular among women here, especially in the Arab region.   “It’s great that young players from Qatar and Lebanon have qualified for the WAAP through the WAGR. I’m hoping this will motivate young ladies in the Arab region, and other countries, to try harder to improve and take advantage of this unique opportunity to develop their game.” Among some of the leading players who have confirmed their participation are two past champions – Japan’s Hashimoto, who won the 2021 championship in Abu Dhabi, and Huang, winner last year. Japan’s Rin Yoshida is the highest-ranked player in the field at number four. Host nation Singapore will field the largest team of eight players, including Aloysa Margiela Atienza, Jaymie Ng and Inez Ng.

About the championship

The WAAP was developed by The R&A and the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC) to inspire future generations of women golfers. It provides the champion with an unparalleled launchpad early in their career through exemptions into three major championships – AIG Women’s Open, the Amundi Evian Championship and the Chevron Championship as well as elite championships such as the Hana Financial Group Championship and the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.  The R&A is supported by championship event partners that share its commitment to developing golf in the Asia-Pacific. The Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific championship is proudly supported by Rolex, Nippon Kabaya Ohayo Holdings, Hana Financial Group and Samsung. For more information on the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific championship, visit www.randa.org/WAAP.   The 2023 field can be found here.