Danthai Boonma’s cautious and patient strategy proved to be the winning formula when he emerged triumphant after carding a final two-under-par 69 at the inaugural World Classic Championship at Laguna National on Sunday.
The young Thai was one of only two players to have broken par after four days of punishing and tense battle with the region’s heavyweights at the US$750,000 Asian Tour event.
Danthai’s winning total of two-under-par 282 was enough to give him a slender one-shot victory over Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung, who was the other player to end the week with a red number.
Korea’s Jeunghun Wang signed off with a 69 to finish in third place ahead of Australia’s Sam Brazel who secured fourth place with his 285 total.
From the start of the week, the 19-year-old, who won two gold medals at the 2012 South East Asia (SEA) Games, always knew it was going to be a tight contest at the World Classic Course, dubbed ‘Asia’s toughest test’ because of its treacherous slopes and tricky greens.
After emerging as the last man standing, Danthai, who is playing in his first year as a professional, was clearly elated with his breakthrough victory on the region’s premier Tour.
“I’m so excited and happy that I’m now a champion on the Asian Tour,” exclaimed Danthai, who took home the winner’s prize purse of US$135,000.
“I didn’t want to think too much about winning the tournament during my front nine especially after dropping a shot there. But after making three birdies in four holes after the turn, I started to believe that this could be my week,” added the Thai.
Fung’s challenge at the World Classic Championship effectively came to an end at the par-four 16 where he three-putted for a bogey.
“The hole that cost me the title this week was the 16th hole where I missed a two-foot putt to save par.
“I knew Danthai was ahead of me by one after that but I also knew there were still birdie opportunities on 17 and 18,” said Fung.
After making par on 17, the Malaysian had another chance to pile the pressure on Danthai on 18 where a birdie would have forced a play-off. However a poor putt meant he had to settle for a runner-up spot.
“I misjudged my putt on 18 where I should have hit the ball slightly to the right. But it’s okay. This may not be my week but I’m still proud I managed to prove myself under such challenging conditions. This is golf. What’s yours will be yours one day,” said Fung.
Wang enjoyed his best result on the Asian Tour this year with his third-place finish and believes his game can only get better following his performance at the Lion City.
“Actually I didn’t even think I would be able to post such a good score this week. This is my first visit to Singapore and also the first time I’m playing on this golf course, which is not easy.
“I’m so happy now and I just want to keep going next week and try my best again. If anything, I need to work on the mental aspect of my game,” said Wang.
Leading Scores after round 4 of the World Classic Championship being played at the par 71, 6935 Yards Laguna National GcC course (am – denotes amateur):
282 – Danthai BOONMA (THA) 72-69-72-69.
283 – Nicholas FUNG (MAS) 74-67-70-72.
284 – Jeunghun WANG (KOR) 69-75-71-69.
285 – Sam BRAZEL (AUS) 69-74-72-70.
286 – Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 71-71-77-67, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 73-73-70-70, Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 76-69-69-72.
287 – Scott BARR (AUS) 69-71-76-71, Danny CHIA (MAS) 73-72-70-72.
288 – Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND) 79-68-68-73.
290 – Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 74-69-74-73, Josh YOUNGER (AUS) 73-71-72-74, Akinori TANI (JPN) 74-74-67-75, Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA) 71-69-74-76, Paul PETERSON (USA) 71-73-70-76, Berry HENSON (USA) 70-70-73-77.
291 – Daniel CHOPRA (SWE) 75-73-72-71, Soomin LEE (KOR) 75-71-72-73, Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 72-73-70-76.