A joyful Panuphol Pittayarat with the Thailand Open trophy after winning on his home course near Bangkok.
A joyful Panuphol Pittayarat with the Thailand Open trophy after winning on his home course near Bangkok.

Home comforts reward Panuphol

sports June 11, 2018 01:00

By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam
The Nation

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Bangkokian weeps for joy after edging Thailand Open



Chachoengsao - Panuphol Pittayarat benefited from the familiarity of playing on his home course as he shot an even-par 70 to edge fellow Thai Poom Saksansin for the US$300,000 Thailand Open at the Thai Country Club on Sunday.

Playing on the course he knows so well, the 25-year-old was cool and calm all day before signing off on 13 under-par-267 for a one-stroke victory, his second Asian Tour title after the Indonesia Open last October.

“There were good and bad moments today but I controlled myself well at the end,” said Panuphol, who rushed to hug his father Chinnawat and openly wept immediately after making the bogey putt to clinch the title – he had headed up the last with a two-stroke lead.

“I’m so happy to win on a home course. It was fun. The key was to remain patient – I waited for the momentum to swing my way,” added Panuphol, who pocketed the winner’s cheque for US$54,000.

Panuphol, nickname Coconut (Mapraow in Thai) by family and friends, also became the fifth Thai to hold the prestigious trophy granted by His Majesty the late King Bhumibol after Suthep Meesawat (1991), Boonchu Runagkit (1992 and 2003), Prayad Marksaeng (2013) and Rattanon Wannasrichan last year.

“This win meant much more to me as it’s a home event and the trophy was granted by King Rama 9 added the Bangkokian, who will aim to keep up his momentum at another royal trophy, the Queen’s Cup later this month at the Phoenix Gold and Country Club in Chon Buri. 

“It’s an honour for every Thai player to hold this trophy. It will be extra honour if I could win another royal trophy. I will try my best to achieve that.”

Poom, also 25, did all he could to catch up with Panuphol but everyone in the leading group, including rookie Sarit Suwannarut, struggled on the green and all had to settle for even-par rounds. 

The two-time Tour winner had to be content with a a four-round total of 12 under-par 268 and the runner-up’s prize of US$33,000.

“To be honest I was a bit disappointed I didn’t win. But I’m proud of myself as I didn’t play well at all coming into this week,” said Poom, who has been dubbed “Baby Assassin” due to his young looks. He had missed five cuts out of 11 events this year before the Thailand Open.

“My confidence has been low this year, and normally I’m not a confident guy. So solid results this week will help me in terms of my confidence. Also finishing second was good enough for me as I have now secured my Tour card for next year. I will be more relaxed and compete without pressure now,” added the former SEA Games gold medallist.

The 20-year-old Sarit, the second-round leader, had two bogeys on the front nine before regaining two shots heading home to also card a 70 and finish on 11 under-par-269 and lone third place, his best result on the Asian Tour.

“A pretty awesome week for me but quite tough on the final day,” said Sarit after just his second Tour event, following the Bangladesh Open in May. “I felt a lot of pressure but I think I handled it pretty well and it’s going to be easier next time.

 “To be honest I came here hoping to just make the cut. So finishing third is not so bad at all. I’m proud of myself.”

Scores after round 4 of the Thailand Open being played at the par 70, 7060 Yards Thai CC course (am - denotes amateur):

267 - Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 67-64-66-70.

268 - Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 66-66-66-70.

269 - Sarit SUWANNARUT (THA) 65-65-69-70.

270 - Natipong SRITHONG (THA) 64-69-70-67.

271 - Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 68-68-64-71.

272 - Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 65-69-70-68, David GLEESON (AUS) 67-69-68-68, Scott VINCENT (ZIM) 69-67-67-69, Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 66-69-67-70, Scott HEND (AUS) 69-66-66-71.

273 - Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 67-69-68-69, Kurt KITAYAMA (USA) 67-67-66-73.

274 - Pawin INGKHAPRADIT (THA) 70-67-71-66, Chikkarangappa S. (IND) 65-70-70-69, Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 69-66-69-70, Jake HIGGINBOTTOM (AUS) 67-69-68-70.

275 - Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 69-67-69-70.

276 - Charng-Tai SUDSOM (THA) 68-69-70-69, Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 71-69-66-70, Jack HARRISON (ENG) 69-69-68-70, Rory HIE (INA) 67-72-65-72, Doyeob MUN (KOR) 70-69-65-72, Miguel CARBALLO (ARG) 67-71-66-72.

277 - Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 67-71-70-69, Ben CAMPBELL (NZL) 68-70-69-70, Jarin TODD (USA) 68-71-66-72.

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