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Bangkok, Thailand (October 25) In a fitting finale to a memorable gala extravaganza, Vichai Srikwan, chairman of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Board of Directors, strode onto the glittering stage to accept Thailand's award as the Best Golf Destination in the Asia-Pacific.

On an evening graced by golfing legends Gary Player, Greg Norman and Annika Sorenstam, it was the host nation that had cause to celebrate well into the night.

In addition to notable accolades for five of the country's best-known courses - Thai Country Club, Black Mountain Golf Club, Banyan Golf Club, Suwan Golf Country Club and Siam Country Club - Thailand's most-loved golfing son, Boonchu Ruangkit, was also honoured.

Battling to overcome the effects of jet-lag following his return from Europe less than 24 hours earlier, Boonchu was inducted into the Asia Pacific Golf Hall of Fame.

It was a worthy accolade for a man who is on the brink of becoming the first Asian to win the European Senior Tour Order of Merit. "It is a great honour. I am humbled," said Boonchu, who was joined in the Hall of Fame by Chinese Taipei veteran 'Mr' Lu Liang-huan and American Jack Nicklaus.

Honours were also bestowed upon Player, Norman and Sorenstam, all of whom had participated in the fourth edition of the Asia Pacific Golf Summit, a three-day gathering that brought together more than 400 of the greatest golfing minds from around the world.

One of the highlights of the evening was the Asian Golf Monthly Awards presentation, which covered a total of 27 categories in 2010 - 15 Best Country-by-Country and 12 Best in Asia-Pacific.

On-line voting took place in June and July with more than 30,000 votes being cast from all corners of the globe.

While past favourites such as Australia's Royal Melbourne Golf Club (West Course) and Shanghai's Sheshan International Golf Club featured prominently there were also a host of new names in the frame.

The Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club was voted Best Course in the Middle East and first runner-up in Best Championship Course in Asia-Pacific, while Brunei's The Empire Hotel & Country Club captured the prestigious Best Golf Resort in Asia-Pacific for the first time.

The Brian Curley-designed Blackstone Course at Mission Hills Haikou - host to next week's inaugural Star Trophy - was the Best New Course in Asia-Pacific and Indonesia's Nirwana Bali Golf Course captured the award for Best Clubhouse in Asia-Pacific.

Nicklaus Design, the design company of 18-time Major champion Jack Nicklaus, retained its title as Best Course Architect in Asia-Pacific and Scotland, the ancestral Home of Golf, was revealed as the Best Golf Destination outside Asia-Pacific.

Among the first-time country winners were Kawana Golf Resort's Fuji Course in Japan, Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club's West Course in Malaysia, Canlubang Golf & Country Club's North Course in the Philippines, Montgomerie Links in Vietnam, Karnataka Golf Association in India and Sri Lanka's Royal Colombo Golf Club, Best Course on the Sub-Continent.

Meanwhile, Japanese philanthropist and businessman Dr Haruhisa Handa was named Asia-Pacific Golf Personality of the Year. "He is very proud to win this award," said Midori Miyazaki, who collected the trophy on his behalf.

He is a Patron of Golf Australia and a major supporter of the European Senior Tour. This year he launched the Handa Singapore Classic.


BEST COURSE IN AUSTRALIA: 1, Royal Melbourne Golf Club (West Course); 2, Kingston Heath Golf Club; 3, Barnbougle Dunes

BEST COURSE IN CHINA: 1, Spring City Golf & Lake Resort (Mountain Course); 2, Sheshan International Golf Club; 3, Mission Hills Shenzhen (Olazabal Course)

BEST COURSE IN CHINESE TAIPEI: 1, Sunrise Golf & Country Club; 2, Miramar Golf & Country Club (‘A' Course); 3, Ta Shee Golf & Country Club (East-Central Course)

BEST COURSE IN INDIA: 1, Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) Golf Club; 2, DLF Golf & Country Club; 3, Eagleton Golf Resort

BEST COURSE IN INDONESIA: 1, Ria Bintan Golf Club (Ocean Course); 2, Nirwana Bali Golf Club; 3, Damai Indah Golf (Bumi Serpong Damai Course)

BEST COURSE IN JAPAN: 1, Kawana Golf Resort (Fuji Course); 2, Shishido Hills Country Club (West Course); 3, Hirono Golf Club

BEST COURSE IN KOREA: 1, Sky 72 Golf Club (Ocean Course); 2, Pinx Golf Club; 3, Blackstone Resort

BEST COURSE IN MALAYSIA: 1, Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (West Course); 2, Kota Permai Golf & Country Club; 3, Tanjong Puteri Golf Resort (Plantation Course)

BEST COURSE IN MIDDLE EAST: 1, Emirates Golf Club (Majlis Course); 2, Abu Dhabi Golf Club (The National Course); 3, Doha Golf Club

BEST COURSE IN NEW ZEALAND: 1, Kauri Cliffs; 2, Cape Kidnappers; 3, Kinloch Club

BEST COURSE IN PHILIPPINES: 1, Canlubang Golf & Country Club (North Course); 2, Sta Elena Golf Club (Makiling Course); 3, Mt Malarayat Golf Club

BEST COURSE IN SINGAPORE: 1, Tanah Merah Country Club (Garden Course); 2, Sentosa Golf Club (Serapong Course); 3, Orchid Country Club (Dendro-Vanda Course)

BEST COURSE ON SUB-CONTINENT (Including Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka): 1, Royal Colombo Golf Club {Sri Lanka}; 2, Victoria Golf & Country Resort {Sri Lanka}; 3, Gokarna Forest Golf Resort {Nepal}

BEST COURSE IN THAILAND: 1, Thai Country Club; 2, Black Mountain Golf Club; 3, Banyan Golf Club

BEST COURSE IN VIETNAM: 1, Montgomerie Links; 2, Dalat Palace Golf Club; 3, Kings' Island Golf (Mountainview Course)

BEST GOLF DESTINATION IN ASIA-PACIFIC: 1, Thailand; 2, Australia; 3, China

BEST GOLF DESTINATION OUTSIDE ASIA-PACIFIC: 1, Scotland; 2, United States; 3, Ireland

BEST COURSE IN ASIA-PACIFIC: 1, Royal Melbourne Golf Club (West Course); 2, Thai Country Club; 3, Kingston Heath Golf Club

BEST CHAMPIONSHIP COURSE IN ASIA-PACIFIC: 1, Sheshan International GC; 2, Emirates Golf Club; 3, Black Mountain Golf Club

BEST GOLF RESORT IN ASIA-PACIFIC: 1, The Empire Hotel & Country Club; 2, Mission Hills Shenzhen; 3, Sutera Harbour Resort

BEST CLUBHOUSE IN ASIA-PACIFIC: 1, Nirwana Bali Golf Course; 2, Banyan Golf Club; 3, Sentosa Golf Club

BEST NEW COURSE IN ASIA-PACIFIC: 1, Mission Hills Haikou (Blackstone Course); 2, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club; 3, Singha Park Khon Kaen Golf Club

BEST GOLF COURSE ARCHITECT IN ASIA-PACIFIC: 1, Nicklaus Design; 2, Schmidt-Curley Design; 3, Robert Trent Jones II

BEST MAINTAINED COURSE IN ASIA-PACIFIC: 1, Tanah Merah Country Club; 2, Siam Country Club; 3, Beijing Honghua International Golf Club

BEST COURSE RENOVATION IN ASIA-PACIFIC: 1, Suwan Golf & Country Club; 2, Ananti Club - Seoul; 3, Glenmarie Golf & Country Club

BEST PRO-SHOP IN ASIA-PACIFIC: 1, Black Mountain Golf Club; 2, The Montgomerie, Dubai; 3, New South Wales Golf Club