June 18, 2012 00:00
By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam
Thai veteran earns Queen's Cup with a solid 68
Thaworn Wiratchant could not have asked for a better way to finish the Queen’s Cup Bangkok Airways-SAT Samui Golf Tournament. The resolute veteran eagled the 18th hole to seal his 13th victory on the Asian Tour yesterday, a record he now shares with compatriot Thongchai Jaidee.
With the inexperienced Miguel Tabuena and Varut Chomchalam, two of the four overnight leaders, failing to cope with their nerves, it became a close race between the Thai veteran and the Bangladesh Rahman Siddukur on the final day at the Santiburi Samui Country Club.
Just a stroke ahead of Siddikur into the final hole, a par-5, the 45-year-old Thaworn hit his second shot to just 20 feet from the pin and drained an eagle putt. The grim-look he wore all day suddenly turned into a beatific smile for the first time.
Siddikur’s hope for a second Tour win evaporated when his 13 foot-eagle attempt failed to find the hole. Thaworn signed off with a finishing 68 and a seven-under 277, three ahead of second placed Bangladeshi and Filipino Juvic Pagunson.
“Several weeks of hard work finally paid off. I’m very tired. I had to fight with the weather, the conditions the course has presented and the tough challenge from the players,’’ said Thaworn who admitted that he had a load of pressure over his shoulders all afternoon.
“There’s more pressure when you play a tournament at home as the fans want to see you play well. But experience really helps. I’m calmer and more patient than others. After what happened on Saturday, I knew I have to keep fighting and be patient,’’ added Thaworn who received a trophy of Her Majesty the Queen and a cheque of US$47,550 as the winner. In fact he won the event twice, the previous was in 2008 when the tournament was called Bangkok Airways and did not feature the Queen’s Trophy.
“Every win is important to me. But I would love to win a trophy like this,’’ added Thaworn who has won four out of five tournaments since May, with wins in Luang Prabang and in two Thai PGA events.
Thaworn said the turning point was the 15th hole where Siddikur, with a stroke ahead at five under, missed a two-foot par putt. He failed to pick another birdie before ending with a 71 and a four-under 280.
“I’m really disappointed. I was almost there. On the 15, I missed a two-foot par putt. I don’t know what happened. I was gone after that,’’ said the 27-year-old who got US$32,550 as runner-up. The second place was also shared by Filipino Juvic Pagunson, who scored a 68.
At tied fourth were India’s Himmat Rai and Dutchman Guido Van Der Valk, both with a 281.
Lack of experience showed in Varut’s play as he finished with a 73. He settled for joint sixth with Prayad Marksaeng and India’s Anirban Lahiri, each with a 282
Overnight co-leader Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines went from the top to joint 10th place after sinking two double bogeys for a finishing 76 and a total of 284, a shot behind Boonchu Ruangkit, who was lone ninth.