Battle-hardened Prayad overturned a three-shot deficit by firing nine birdies against three bogeys for a winning total of 14-under-par 270 at the Santiburi Samui Country Club, dubbed the ‘beast of Samui’ due to its challenging layout.
Countryman Thanyakon Khrongpha matched Prayad’s efforts on the final day to grab second place while Jazz Janewattananond, also of Thailand, took third on 274 with Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh following rounds of 66 and 68 respectively at the prestigious Queen’s Cup, staged in honour of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit.
Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka carded a 69 to finish two shots back in fifth place on his own while American Paul Peterson (68), Canadian Richard T. Lee (70), India’s S.S.P. Chawrasia (70) and Japanese Akinori Tani (75) shared sixth on 277.
Prayad, who first won the Queen’s Cup in 2013, proved once again that old is gold as he clinched his ninth Asian Tour title at the Santiburi Samui Country Club. “To be able to win at 49 years old is just incredible for me. I am very proud of myself,” said Prayad, who took home the winner’s prize purse of US$54,000.
“I started with a bogey but I wasn’t worried as there are plenty of holes to go. I knew Thanyakon was making a fast charge but I didn’t really feel the pressure as he was playing ahead of me but I thought it doesn’t matter if I lose because I was already sure that the trophy will remain in Thailand,” added Prayad.
Thanyakon was left to rue another missed chance for a maiden victory. The 24-year-old Thai started off promisingly with a birdie on 4th and an eagle on sixth before adding three more birdies after the turn on 10th, 12th and 14th holes but a costly bogey on 16th dashed his title hopes.
“I am disappointed to be honest. I had come close to winning for a couple of times last year and I have been wanting to win on the Asian Tour for so long. I played so well all day. I was really going for the win out there until that bogey on the 16th,” said Thanyakon, who enjoyed two runner-up finishes in Indonesia and on home soil last season.
“It got really windy on the 16th tee and it was difficult to gauge the direction. I hit my tee shot off and I knew I didn’t have a chance anymore. Overall, I am still happy with how I finished. I was six-over at some stage earlier in the tournament and to be able to finish in second place now, I can’t complain,” added the slightly-built Thanyakon.
Jazz capped his best finish on the Asian Tour after producing an impressive back nine 31 highlighted by two eagles (16th and 18th) and three birdies against one bogey at the Samui course, where he had earlier enjoyed a tied-fourth finish in 2013.
“I had a bad lie off the tee on 16th but I told myself not to make any mistake. I thought I hit my second shot to pretty close. I didn’t expect the ball to go in until I heard the crowd cheering. I hit a good shot on the last and hit my second shot pretty close. My short game was good so I was confident. I didn’t expect the ball to go in again but it did!” added the 19-year-old Jazz.
Meanwhile Siddikur was pleased to cap his fifth top-five finish at the Queen’s Cup. “I am happy with another top-five finish as I played with no expectations. I didn’t hit the ball as well today but I am happy I made four birdies. I had a good finish to the round as I birdied the last hole to grab a share of third place with Jazz,” he said.
Scores after round 4 of the Queen’s Cup Samui Golf Tournament 2015 being played at the par 71, 6814 Yards Santiburi GCC course (am – denotes amateur):
270 – Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 69-65-71-65.
272 – Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 74-65-68-65.
274 – Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 69-72-67-66, Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) 69-70-67-68.
276 – Mithun PERERA (SRI) 67-72-68-69.
277 – Paul PETERSON (USA) 69-72-68-68, Richard T. LEE (CAN) 69-67-71-70, S.S.P. CHAWRASIA (IND) 73-67-67-70, Akinori TANI (JPN) 68-70-64-75.
279 – Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 69-68-76-66, Danny CHIA (MAS) 69-69-72-69.
280 – Thitiphun CHUAYPRAKONG (THA) 71-70-70-69, Wolmer MURILLO (VEN) 72-66-71-71, Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA) 68-71-70-71, Piya SWANGARUNPORN (THA) 74-66-67-73.
281 – Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 73-69-70-69, LEE Chieh-Po (TPE) 73-69-70-69, Lindsay RENOLDS (CAN) 74-69-69-69, Atthaphon SRIBOONKAEW (THA) 66-71-70-74.
282 – Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 76-69-69-68, Niclas JOHANSSON (SWE) 68-76-70-68, Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA) 71-73-69-69, Jeunghun WANG (KOR) 68-71-73-70, Pannakorn UTHAIPAS (THA) 68-72-70-72.
283 – Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 74-70-73-66, Sorachut HANSAPIBAN (THA) 73-71-74-65, Sutijet KOORATANAPISAN (THA) 77-66-68-72