CHONBURI: Indian golfer Rayhan Thomas will lead a strong seven-man squad in the 13th edition of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship which is scheduled to be held here from October 27-30.
Thomas, currently based in the USA, where he plays for his university, the Oklahoma State University, came within a whisker of making history at the prestigious Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC) in 2018.
Thomas, who has played in the AAC four years in a row from 2016 to 2019, will be playing in the event for the fifth time. He finished two shots behind the winner, Takumi Kanaya, at the 2018 edition at the Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore.
The Indian team includes Shat Mishra, who has been very consistent on the domestic circuit, Milind Soni, a member of the Indian team at the 2021 AAC, where he finished 41st and Aryan Roopa Anand, who is a two-time winner of All India Amateur Championships.
Krishnav Nikhil Chopra, son of former India cricketer Nikhil Chopra, is also part of the Indian team while Dubai-based Arjun Gupta, winner of the 2000 Abu Dhabi amateurs and 5th at Kenya Amateurs and Shaurya Bhattacharya, sixth-place finisher at Dutch Amateurs are the other members.
However, all eyes will be on local hero Ratchanon "TK" Chantananuwat who is ranked 12th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and will be the highest-ranked player in the field. If he wins, he will become the first player from Thailand to win the AAC.
In April this year, the 15-year-old Chantananuwat, became the youngest male player to win on one of the game's major tours with his triumph at the Asian Tour's Trust Golf Asian Mixed Cup. He was also runner-up in the R&A Junior Open.
The AAC was created in 2009 as a joint initiative to develop the game by the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation, the Masters Tournament and The R&A.
The winner of the event gets to play the Masters Tournament and The Open and the runner-up gets a place in The Open Qualifying Series for The Open.