Bangkok: Indian duo Shiv Kapur and Gaganjeet Bhullar settled for second place, while 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 on Sunday.
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.
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.
Reigning Order of Merit champion Scott Hend of Australia marked his best efforts of the week with a solid 64, finishing in sixth place on 269 alongside three other players, including Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who closed with a 70.
The final round of the Thailand Open 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.
The Thailand Open, inaugurated in 1965, is also the first leg of the newly launched Panasonic Swing, which provides a bonus pool across five designated tournaments.
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Rattanon’s winning total of 21-under-par 263 would have been the lowest 72-hole score so far this season if not for the preferred lies ruling in place.
Rattanon’s opening 62 would also mark the lowest start by a winner so far this season.
Rattanon is the fourth Thai player to win the Thailand Open since it was inaugurated in 1965. The three other Thais are Suthep Meesawat (1991), Boonchu Ruangkit (1992 and 2004) and Prayad Marksaeng (2013). He will take home a winner’s prize purse of US$54,000.
Rattanon is the third Thai player following Prayad Marksaeng (SMBC Singapore Open) and Jazz Janewattananond (Bashundhara Bangladesh Open) to win on the Asian Tour this season.
Rattanon is also the third first-time winner, following Jazz and Australian Todd Sinnott, to emerge on the Asian Tour this season.
With the Thailand Open being the first event of the Panasonic Swing, Rattanon now leads the new Panasonic Swing ranking with 1,800 points.
Rattanon amassed an average of 24 putts per round to win his maiden title this week. He dropped only four shots the entire week.
Scores after round 4 of the Thailand Open being played at the par 71, 7097 Yards Thai CC course (am - denotes amateur):
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.
271 - John Michael O'TOOLE (USA) 70-68-69-64, Lionel WEBER (FRA) 71-69-66-65, Sihwan KIM (USA) 67-71-68-65, Jarin TODD (USA) 72-65-65-69, Ben LEONG (MAS) 70-64-66-71.
272 - David LIPSKY (USA) 74-67-66-65, Natipong SRITHONG (THA) 70-69-68-65, Mitchell SLORACH (SIN) 69-66-68-69, Brett MUNSON (USA) 72-68-62-70, Scott BARR (AUS) 67-67-67-71.
273 - Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA) 73-68-64-68, Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 68-68-67-70.
274 - Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 65-74-68-67.