As the popular tournament prepares to celebrate its ninth edition with a record prize fund of US$500,000 from June 15 to 18, this year’s Queen’s Cup will boast arguably its strongest ever field.
Apart from a host of Asian Tour winners who have an accumulated 120 tournament victories, the Queen’s Cup will also feature eight players from the current top-10 of the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit.
In addition, six of this season’s winners, including double Queen’s Cup champion Prayad Marksaeng, India’s Shiv Kapur and long-hitting Australian Todd Sinnott, will tee up in the Queen’s Cup which is backed by Bangkok Airways and Sports Authority of Thailand.
Three other former Order of Merit champions – Jeev Milkha Singh of India, Filipino Juvic Pagunsan and Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand – will join reigning number one and the tournament’s defending champion Hend in the stellar field.
Straight-shooting Chawrasia, who successfully retained his Hero Indian Open title in March and currently lies second on the Merit list, is tipped to be amongst the front runners at a demanding Samui course which punishes errant shots severely.
The likeable Indian, who has earned US$304,500 this season, will have a chance to dislodge current number one David Lipsky of the United States from the top of the rankings if he can produce either a top-two finish. He currently trails Lipsky by about US$32,000.
“I’m looking forward to going back to the Queen’s Cup which is one of my favourite tournaments of the year. It’s fantastic news to hear the prize fund has been increased to US$500,000 and more importantly, it will give me a great opportunity to overtake David (who is not playing),” said Chawrasia who finished tied 39th at the tournament last year and equal sixth in 2015.
“I’m looking forward to going back to the Queen’s Cup which is one of my favourite tournaments of the year. It’s fantastic news to hear the prize fund has been increased to US$500,000 and more importantly, it will give me a great opportunity to overtake David (Lipsky).” – SSP Chawrasia
“Over the years, I’ve learned how to play the golf course which rewards precision and accuracy from off the tee. I’ve always competed well there and hopefully I will play well again. I think the course is suited to my style of play.
“Being in Samui for the event is also a nice experience as it’s a great location. Apart from competing hard at the tournament, you also get a chance to enjoy some of the great tourist attractions which is a nice thing for us.”
All eyes will also be on Thai rising star Rattanon Wannasrichan, 21, following his breakthrough victory at the Thailand Open last month. He also has two other top-five finishes this season. In 2014, the baby-faced Rattanon finished tied 14th in the Queen’s Cup.
Back-in-form Kapur will also be a major threat in Samui. The experienced Indian golfer ended a nearly 12-year wait for his second Asian Tour win by lifting the Yeangder Heritage title in Chinese Taipei recently before going on to finish tied second in the Thailand Open.
Malaysia’s Gavin Green, South African Jbe Kruger and Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang, who finished fourth on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit last season, are also in the field as with Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman, who is a regular contender in Samui, Spaniard Carlos Pigem and Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura.