Australia’s Maddison Hinson Tolchard – in practice today – photo Paul Lakatos R&A

The Middle East hosts yet another of the world’s leading amateur golf events this week when the Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific Championship is played at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Just a few days after the completion of the 12th Asia Pacific Men’s Championship for men in nearby Dubai, the women’s equivalent is played for the third occasion, Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul and Japan’s Yuka Yasuda having been the winners in the opening two stagings of the event in 2018 and 2019.

Yasuda is now playing on the Japan LPGA Tour while Thitikul has dominated the Ladies European Tour in 2021, leading its Order of Merit, winning twice and recording five top tens this year, three of those in LPGA Tour events, reflecting the role the event has already played in developing the careers of aspiring amateurs from the Asia Pacific region.

The winner of the event earns a start at the AIG Women’s Open and The Amundi Evian Championship, (both majors) and the Hana Bank Championship along with an invitation to play in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

While the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship for men is essentially run by Augusta National, this event comes under greater control by the R&A and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation although Augusta National do play a role in some of the funding of the event.

Five Australians and five New Zealanders get their chance in the 78 player field, the highest world ranked of them being Perth’s Maddison Hinson-Tolchard, although she is currently ranked 186th in the women’s world rankings.

Several higher ranked Australians were not available as they had committed for a range of reasons including attempting qualifying to play the LPGA Tour or were restricted by Covid 19 issues.

Hinson-Tolchard, who is currently studying at Oklahoma State University where she has performed with distinction, will be joined by fellow Australians, NSW’s Kelsey Bennet, and June Song (who is at Iowa State University) and Queensland’s Isabelle Taylor (Oregon State University) and Cassie Porter.

New Zealand’s highest ranked player in the field is Caitlin Maurice (studying at Sacramento State) who will be joined by Shani White (University of Louisiana) Bridget Connolly (Morehead State University) Caitlin Cotterell (Furman University in South Carolina) and Belinda May (University of South Alabama.

The event will be played from Wednesday 10th to Saturday 13th of November.