Rattanon wins first Asian Tour title

Photo by Paul Lakatos/Asian Tour.

Bangkok, May 21: Young Thai Rattanon Wannasrichan completed a sensational wire-to-wire victory at the Thailand Open, closing with a four-under-par 67 to win by two shots for his maiden Asian Tour success.

The baby-faced 21-year-old, who held a one-shot lead heading into the final round, kept his composure to return with a round of five birdies against one bogey and a winning total of 21-under-par 263 at the Thai Country Club.

Despite stumbling with a bogey on the last, Rattanon managed to hold off the combined challenges of Indian duo Shiv Kapur and Gaganjeet Bhullar, who settled for second place in the US$300,000 event which returned to the Asian Tour schedule following an eight-year lapse.

“I am very happy to win my first Asian Tour title at my own National Open! I played solid again today and just focused shot by shot. I waited five years (since turning professional in 2012) for this win. I am really proud of myself. I finally proved that I can do it,” said Rattanon.

Kapur, who was chasing for back-to-back wins, sank four straight birdies in his closing five holes to pile the pressure on Rattanon before signing for the day’s best score of a 63. Bhullar, a seven-time Asian Tour winner, impressed with a birdie-birdie finish after chipping in from 35 yards on the 18 to close with a second consecutive 67.

Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat battled to a 70 to finish four shots back in fourth place while compatriot Danthai Boonma grabbed fifth on 268 following a bogey-free 66.

The final round was delayed for two hours and 45 minutes in the morning due to heavy rain and lightning threats. Play commenced only at 10am local time. Inaugurated in 1965, the tournament is also the first leg of the newly launched Panasonic Swing, which provides a bonus pool across five designated tournaments.

Malaysia’s Gavin Green closed with a 66 for joint 10th place on 14-under-par, while compatriots Ben Leong and Danny Chia finished 15th (-13) and 42nd (-6) respectively

Results (Top 10 and ties):

263 – Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 62-69-65-67.

265 – Shiv KAPUR (IND) 70-67-65-63, Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 65-66-67-67.

267 – Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 64-69-64-70.

268 – Danthai BOONMA (THA) 66-69-67-66.

269 – Scott HEND (AUS) 69-67-69-64, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 67-67-68-67, Terry PILKADARIS (AUS) 67-67-66-69, Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 66-68-65-70.

270 – Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 69-68-67-66, Gavin GREEN (MAS) 71-66-67-66, Chanachok DEJPIRATANAMONGKOL (THA) 68-68-67-67, Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 71-67-64-68, Pawin INGKHAPRADIT (THA) 70-62-68-70.

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