39th Queen Sirikit Cup

11 May 2017

Team Singapore left early morning of 7 May for the 39th Queen Sirikit Cup. The tournament will be held at the Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Golf Club at Shuangshan Island, Zhangjiagang City, Jiangsu Province, China, from 7 – 13 May 2017. SGA Vice President, Mr. CS Kong, and the parents of the athletes were at the airport to send the team off. Team Singapore comprising players Callista Chen, Nicole Mok and Sarah Tan are accompanied by Team Captain, SGA Executive Board Member and SLGA President Mrs Lyn Sen, SGA Executive Board Member and SLGA Hon Secretary Ms Goh Kui Hwa, SLGA Vice-President Ms Jasmine Ng and SGA High Performance Manager Mr Jerome Ng.

Team Singapore at 39th Queen Sirikit Cup (L-R) High Performance Manager Mr Jerome Ng, Nicole Mok, Sarah Tan, Callista Chen and
Team Captain, SGA Exec Board Member and SLGA President Mrs Lyn Sen

The history of the Queen Sirikit Cup—officially known as the Amateur Ladies Asia-Pacific Invitational Golf Team Championship – is very much a part of the history of Thailand Ladies Golf Association which was registered in February 1979, under the chairmanship of Mom Kobkaew Abhakara. One of the Association’s founders, Rae-Vadee T. Suwan, came up with the idea to launch a national team championship in view of the fact that no international ladies’ event existed in the region at that time. She felt that lady golfers with great potential but insufficient financial resources could not go very far in their game. It was timely for them to be given a chance to play at a higher level and accomplish more for themselves and their countries. Through the championship, a higher standard of the game could be raised and more friendships could be formed.

Hence a proposal was sent to the national golf association of 14 countries including Thailand, namely, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Philippines, Burma, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand to send a team of 3 players to launch the national team championship in Bangkok, Thailand. Of the 14 countries invited, nine countries participated in the inaugural event, known then as the “Amateur Ladies Asian Invitational Golf Team Championship”.

Mom Kobkaew Abhakara was instrumental in requesting the challenge trophy from Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand who graciously granted Her permission to have the trophy named after Her as the “Queen Sirikit Cup”.

The Queen Sirikit Cup is a beautifully handcrafted silver trophy and the exact replica is presented to the champion team each year.

First Decade (1979-1988)

The inaugural Queen Sirikit Cup was hosted by Thailand at Navatanee Golf Course, venue of the 1975 World Cup, during February 15-17, 1979. Teams represented were Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Japan won the first championship with Thailand as runner-up.

Australia won the Cup 6 times and Japan dominated for 3 years. New Zealand took the Cup on the year of its first participation.

 The tournament’s theme song, The Women’s Spirit, was launched on the 10th Anniversay and the teams were granted an audience with H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who represented Her mother, H.M. Queen Sirikit, at Chitrlada Palace.

Second Decade (1989-1998)

The second decade saw the 13th member, People’s Republic of China, participating in the Championship. This decade was dominated by Korea, capturing the Cup 7 times, with New Zealand taking its 2nd win in 1990 and Japan, its 4th and 5th win in 1993 and 1997 respectively.

Korea took her 7th title at the close of the decade when the Cup was hosted by India in 1998 where its 14th member, Chinese Taipei, made her first appearance.

Third Decade (1999-2008)

In 1999, the first ever team playoff was observed between New Zealand and Chinese Taipei. New Zealand took the team title and Chinese Taipei won the individual title. The next two years were captured by Australia and saw the first ever individual playoff between Australia and Korea.

In 2002, the most exciting year, saw both the individual and team playoffs.  Chinese Taipei won the individual while Japan took the Cup for the 6th time.

Singapore rejoined the Championship in 2003, after a withdrawal of 7 years. Korea won its 8th title that year.

When the 26th edition was hosted by China for the second time in 2004, the R&A came forward to give financial grant to help subsidize the teams’ accommodation expenses. The recognition given by the R&A was based on the achievements of the Queen Sirikit Cup Championship in promoting the standard of ladies golf in the Asia-Pacific region and recommendation made by the Executive Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC), Dato Thomas M.L. Lee of Malaysia. Korea took the title the 9th time that year.

2007 was a momentous year as it saw all 14 member countries being represented in the Championship. By this time, Korea had 10 wins, Australia 8, Japan 6, New Zealand 3 and Chinese Taipei 2.

At the close of the third decade, it was Korea’s 11th claim of the Cup.

Fourth Decade (2009-Present)

The 31st Queen Sirikit Cup hosted by Indonesia Golf Association was staged at Nirawana Bali Golf Club during April 1-3, 2009. The host made extra efforts to give the teams and their supporters a good experience in witnessing Balinese cultural performances during the opening ceremony. The scenic layout of the golf course and the beautiful ocean backdrop also made the beginning of the 4th decade tournament another memorable occasion. The defending champion Korea once again proved her team’s undefeatable skills to win the cup with the scores of 416.

In 2010 New Zealand took her 3rd turn to host the 32nd Championship during April 7-9, at Hamilton Golf Course, which is the oldest golf course in New Zealand with natural undulating layout. Twelve teams except Indonesia and Sri Lanka were present. Korea came with a newcomer and strong player in Hyo Joo Kim who shot 72-69-65 (206) to help the team retain the title with the scores of 420

The 33rd Queen Sirikit Cup Championship returned to India in 2011 for its 3rd hosting at Delhi Golf Club from March 9-11 with all 14 members present. The R&A was also represented by Mr. Martin Yates, who updated the members on the introduction of Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking and the inclusion of golf in the Olympic in 2016. The Queen Sirikit Cup Championship’s results would be eligible for inclusion in this ranking as from this year onwards.

To sum up the list of past champion teams over the 3 decades since 1979: Korea has won 14 times, Australia 8 times, Japan 6 times, New Zealand 3 times and Chinese Taipei twice. With more and more junior golfers taking serious interest in the game, it is hopeful that the new decade can produce new champion teams from other member countries to join the list of only 5 countries that have won the Queen Sirikit Cup so far. The fact that the R&A continues to render its financial support to the Championship also guarantees that the future of the Asia-Pacific Ladies Invitational Golf Team Championship can reach its next milestone in a firm footing.

In 2012 Singapore Ladies Golf Association took the second turn to host the 34th Queen Sirikit Cup at Tanah Merah Country Club. The first time Singapore played host was at the 5th Championship in 1983 and eventually pulled out of the Championship for 7 years during 1996-2002. Thirteen members took part with the absence of Sri Lanka. Very promising Korean player, Hyo-Joo Kim stole the limelight with her low scores of 69-65-70 (204) to carry Korean team to their 15th victory. Korea won with a wide gap (413) from runner-up team New Zealand (438) with Australia finishing in 3rd place at 440. Apart from the very well organized tournament run by Singapore Ladies Golf Association, a new slogan has been adopted for future Championships to be known as “The Queen Sirikit Cup—Where Legends Are Born”.

Excerpts taken from http://www.queensirikitcup.org