Thailand’s Panuwat Muenlek overcame the strong challenge from countryman Kasidit Lepkurte to win the weather-shortened PGM GlobalOne Championship by one shot on Saturday.
Panuwat and Kasidit were neck-to-neck before Panuwat gained a two-shot lead after the 17th hole which he birdied and his challenger bogeyed. Panuwat eventually romped to his fourth Asian Development Tour (ADT) title after closing with a five-under-par 67.
Kasidit, who won his first ADT title this October, settled for second place despite making birdie on the 18th hole at the RM200,000 (approximately US$44,600) event.
Thailand’s Namchok Tantipokhakul (67) and Pitipat Pitimana-Aree (68) shared third place alongside Scotland’s James Byrne who returned with a 71.
“I was pretty confident today since my game felt good going into this tournament. I did not think about the score at all eventhough I was aware of me and Kasidit being tied on the 17th hole,” said the four-time ADT champion.
“I feel really good about how I played today. My irons were accurate and I gave myself a lot of birdie chances. The 17th was the most important hole for me and after Kasidit birdied I felt more comfortable going into the 18th hole and just playing my own game,” added Panuwat.
Panuwat credited his return to winner’s circle after taking a much needed holiday with his wife and children.
“After the tournament in Perak two weeks ago, I took a break. I feel much more rested and I think that was key to my win.. I feel very good about finally winning on the ADT this year and my main goal is still to try and get into the top five on the ADT Order of Merit,” said Panuwat, who moved to sixth place on the Order of Merit.
Panuwat took home a winner’s prize purse of US$8,265 and currently trails the fifth placed player Nattawat Suvajanakorn by slightly more than US$2,000. He will have two more events to try and break into the top-five on the Order of Merit. The leading five players on the final ranking will earn an Asian Tour card for 2018.
Held for the first time at Saujana Golf and Country Club, the event was shortened to 54 holes when 11 hours was lost due to lightning threats Panuwat went into the final round two shots back of the second round leader Johnson Poh of Singapore, who closed with a 75 to finish in tied-14th place.
All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive at least six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com
Leading final round scores:
207 – Kasidit LEPKURTE (THA) 69 70 68
209 – Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA) 73 69 67, Pitipat PITIMANA-AREE (THA) 70 71 68, James BYRNE (SCO) 70 68 71
210 – R. Nachimuthu (MAS) 71 71 68, Nattawat SUVAJANAKORN (THA) 69 71 70
211 – Varanyu RATTANAPHIBOONKIJ (THA) 69 75 67, Jakraphan PREMSIRIGORN (THA) 73 69 69, Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN) 73 68 70, Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) 73 67 71, LIU Yan-wei (CHN) 65 73 73, Sukree OTHMAN (MAS) 68 70 73
212 – Nicolas PAEZ (USA) 72 73 67, Janne KASKE (FIN) 74 68 70, Steve LEWTON (ENG) 70 72 70, Johnson POH (SGP) 68 69 75
213 – CHOO Tze Huang (SGP) 73 71 69, Leunkwang KIM (MAS) 72 72 69, Ian ANDREW (INA) 70 72 71, Matthew NEGRI (USA) 71 75 67