Thai Golfer Handily Wins Asian Tour Siem Reap Tournament

Decisively winning his second consecutive tournament, Thai­land’s Thongchai Jaidee finished the Asian Tour’s Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open golf tournament in Siem Reap on Sunday with a score of 24 under par, according to the Asian Tour’s Web site.

With the win at Siem Reap’s Phokeethra Country Club, Thongchai, 39, who ended a two-year title drought Dec 7 at the Asian Tour’s Hana Bank Viet­nam Masters in Ho Chi Minh City, took home $47,550 of the Cam­bodian Open’s $300,000 purse.

Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing finished second at 18 under par, while Thailand’s Chawalit Pla­phol took third place with a score of 16 under par, taking home $32,550 and $18,300, re­spectively.

American Bryan Saltus, who won last year’s Cambodia Open, finished the country’s second professional four-day golf tournament tied at 34th place with a score of 4 under par.

Minister of Tourism Thong Khon, who was in attendance at the tournament, said by telephone that the Cambodian Open is a boon for tourism in the country.

“Those golfers are professionals and they are luxurious tourists,” he said, adding that the free international publicity for the event “is very good for the tour­ism sector.”

Cambodia had no professional golfers representing the country in this or last year’s Cambodian Open, but amateur golfers Kem Samreach and Seng Van Seiha participated in the first two days of this year’s event.

Bou Chumserei, undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, said Cambodia is still too poor to support the upkeep of professional golfers.

“We don’t have any professional golfers, and we don’t yet have any plans to choose professional golfers,” he said.

“Golf sport is the high-class sport, so we need time and wealth to prepare for it,” he said.

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