The Asian Tour finally returns to action this November, after a 20-month hiatus. Kicking off proceedings is the Blue Canyon Phuket Championship 2021. Along with the Laguna Championship, it forms part of the two-leg Phuket series.
144 of the Tour’s top players from 24-countries are scheduled to tee off in paradise on 25 November.
With only a few tournaments remaining before the end of the extended season, the players are hunting for a strong finish as they look to climb the Order of Merit (OOM) standings. But, before we look at the details of the layout and list of our players to watch, let’s recap how the Tour currently stands.
Asian Tour Review
Since the Asian Tour paused in March 2020, you can be forgiven for not remembering who won what and where. As it stands, Australian Wade Ormsby sits atop the OOM with total earnings of $227,003.65. He is closely followed by American Trevor Simsby, who has played two tournaments less than the Aussie.
Orsmby’s compatriot, Brad Kennedy, is currently in third. And Simby’s counterpart, Jarin Todd, is in fourth. Rounding out the top five is the pride of Thai golf, Jazz Janewattananond.
Before embarking on a 20-month intermission, the Asian Tour managed to complete five tournaments. Wade Ormsby won the first event of the year, with a four-shot victory in the Hong Kong Open. The following week, Matt Kuchar followed him into the winner’s circle by bagging the Singapore Open.
Next up, it was the turn of Zimbabwean Benjamin Follett-Smith as he won the 2020 Asian Tour Q-School Final at the Lake View Resort outside of Hua Hin. Australian Brad Kennedy was unbeatable at the New Zealand Open at the end of February last year.
Finally, Trevor Simsby went on to win the Malaysian Open in March before the tour paused due to the pandemic.
Blue Canyon Country Club Course
Constructed in 1991 by the famed Japanese golf course architect. Yoshikazu Kato. The Canyon Course at Blue Canyon Phuket is no stranger to professional golf tournaments, having hosted the Johnnie Walker Classic on three occasions.
During the 1998 edition of the Johnnie Walker Classic, one Eldrick Tiger Woods initiated an epic comeback to force a playoff with Ernie Els and eventually lift the cup.
The par 72, 7244-yard layout consistently ranks among the best courses in Thailand and features two iconic holes. The 13th carries the nickname The Tiger Hole. This was the hole that Woods dove the green by taking the 290-yard shortcut to the dancefloor. Furthermore, Fred Couples rates the par 3, 17th as one of the best short holes in golf.
Although not overly long, the Canyon course requires to pinpoint accuracy from tee to green. The presence of tree-lined fairways, bunkers, and water-hazards means that the Golfing Gods will punish inaccurate shots.
As was the case at four of the five host courses this season, the Canyon course contains Zoysia Matrella fairways and TifEagle greens.
This means that the fairways are soft and suit players with a shallow attack angle, who are less susceptible to hitting their ball fat. In our preview on the Asian Tour Comes To Thailand, we discuss the impacts of the turf at Blue Canyon Phuket.
Key Trends To Consider
Because this course demands perfection from tee to green. You will need to factor in accuracy stats when making your picks for the Blue Canyon Phuket Championship 2021.
The main trends to focus on are driving accuracy, GIR, and putting average per hole. There are very few good places to miss around this course, and a solid scrambling game may prove futile.
Players To Watch At The Blue Canyon Championship 2021
Leading the charge onto Phuket for the Thai golfing fraternity is Jazz Janewattanond. The man who turned pro at the age of 14 is looking to improve his OOM ranking. He is also on the hunt to retain the Grand title that he won back in 2019.
The reason Atiwit is worth considering is that his GIR record sits at 84%. The best on Tour this season. Furthermore, he hits the fairway 71% of the time and ranks 11th overall for the best birdie average.
With the home crowd behind him, Jazz will no doubt trouble the leaderboard. As long as he is on fire with the flat stick.
Sadom Kaekwanjana arrives at the Blue Canyon Phuket Championship ranked 382 in the world. He has notched up six top-ten finishes in his last six appearances, including wins at the Laguna Phuket Open and the Thailand Open.
While no disrespect is meant to Kaewkanjana, the reality is that the fields he faces in the All Thailand Golf Tour are weaker than those on the tee sheet in Phuket. However, he has managed to consistently string together low rounds, meaning he can chase any score.
The Korean travels to Thailand in phenomenal form. He has finished in the top ten 63% of the time in his past eight outings. Unlike many Asian Tour players, Kim has kept his course fitness by teeing it up in KPGA tour events.
Not only does Kim rank in the top ten on Tour for driving accuracy, but he has also made more birdies than any other player this season.
Rounding out our picks of International players to watch in the Blue Canyon Phuket Championship is Wade Ormsby. Although the Aussie leads the OOM, he has not shown the form this year that he did early in 2020. Orsmby has plied his trade on the European Tour and managed a top ten and two top-twenty finishes in 2021.
However, as one of the higher-ranked players in the world, and considering that he has an OOM title to win, he won’t go down without a fight.
Final Thoughts On The Blue Canyon Championship 2021
The excitement levels are up, and we are ready to see action return to the Asian Tour. The Blue Canyon Phuket Championship 2021 tees off on 25 November. To be a contender on Sunday afternoon, accuracy off the tee is vital.