Asia Golf Leaders Forum to expand footprint

The Asia Golf Leaders Forum (AGLF) is ready to expand its footprint in the Asia Pacific following the success of the inaugural Simone Asia Pacific Cup in Indonesia in August.

In another milestone development for women’s golf in the Asia-Pacific region, the inaugural Hana Financial Group Singapore Women’s Open which tees off at the Tanah Merah Country Club this week will continue to provide a platform for aspiring women’s golfers to shine.

According to Paul Park, AGLF Secretary-General, there is a wealth of untapped talents in the region and he is looking forward to unearthing them through playing opportunities on the Ladies Asian Tour (LAT) series.

“Not many people outside the Philippines would have heard of Princess Mary Superal before her victory at the Simone Asia Pacific Cup, but they do now,” said Park of Princess’ success in Jakarta.

“This shows that there are so many talents coming up in Asia and Princess Mary is one of those out there.

“While countries like Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan and Thailand have their very own established circuits, the same can’t be said for the likes of Indonesia, Philippines and several others.

“This is why we need to build a solid foundation by uniting all the Asia Pacific countries through their respective national golf associations, and together we work towards forming a strong LAT Series.”

After the successful staging of the Simone Asia-Pacific Cup and the establishment of the Hana Financial Group Singapore Women’s Open, Park is pleased that talks are underway to boost the Thailand Ladies Open and Philippines Ladies Open, slated for next year, with bigger prize purses, having seen its progress curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I mentioned to our members during the AGLF Summit that for the LAT Series to be successful, we need to have players, sponsors and a good venue,” said Park.

“I think we’re on right track. We already got six tournaments thus far, we have a good future.”

Park is confident that with a proper vision, planning and execution of the LAT Series in years to come, the Asia Pacific region would be able to produce a group of world-beaters like what has been witnessed in South Korea in the late 1990s.

Se Ri Pak’s successful career on the LPGA Tour has changed the golf landscape in her native South Korea and inspired a successful generation of players that dominated the world’s women’s golf scene in the past one-and-a-half decade.

Ryu, who won six LPGA Tour titles including two majors, was among those regarded as “Seri Kids” along with the likes of Na Yeon Choi and Jiyai Shin.

Today, there are 13 Koreans in the world’s top-50, with Jin Young Ko being the current number one.

“Many countries are trying to make Korea’s success in women’s golf the benchmark and trying to model after them. And we do believe that if the Koreans can do it, so can the rest of Asia,” said Park.

The Hana Financial Group Singapore Women’s Open is the season-opening event on the LAT Series. In 2022, the DB Group 36th Korea Women’s Open in June, Simone Asia-Pacific Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia in August and the Hana Financial Group Championship, a major event of the KLPGA Tour in September were part of the series.

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