Overnight leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand cruised to a three-shot victory when he closed with a second straight four-under-par 68 to win the inaugural Thongchai Jaidee Foundation event, hosted by his countryman and mentor, on Sunday.
Kiradech, who led by four shots heading into the final round, fired five birdies against a bogey for a winning total of 24-under-par 264 in the four million baht (approximately US$111,808) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.
Local veteran Prayad Marksaeng put up a strong fight before settling for second place following a 67 while home town hero Prom Meesawat and American Berry Henson shared third place on 269 after signing for rounds of 68 and 69 respectively at the majestic Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin.
Tournament host Thongchai returned with a 67 to tie in fifth place with compatriot Chapchai Nirat, who capped his best round of the week with a 66, at the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation event, which is the 20th leg of the ADT schedule this season.
Kiradech’s overnight lead was hardly threatened despite making his only blemish in the last three rounds on the par-five 13th hole. He recovered strongly with birdies on 15th and 16th to seal the deal.
“I played some good golf today although I didn’t manage to get up and down on the 13th which resulted in a bogey. That didn’t really affect me as I was striking the ball really good. My game’s in a good shape coming to this week and that has given me a lot of confidence to win the tournament,” said the 26-year-old Thai, who has won twice in Europe this season.
“This win means a lot to me. Thongchai is one of the best golfers in Thailand and he is also a great mentor and inspiration to me. I have always wanted to emulate his success growing up so I am really happy to win the first event hosted by Thongchai himself this week,” added Kiradech, a former Asian Tour number one in 2013.
Kiradech will take home a winner’s prize purse of US$19,368 and receive six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points courtesy of his victory.
Prayad, who closed with a bogey-free round highlighted by five birdies, tipped his hat to Kiradech for a well-deserved victory. “I played well today but it wasn’t enough to beat Kiradech. When he birdied 15th and 16th, I knew he was going to win. He has played really good golf this week,” said the 49-year-old Thai, who claimed his ninth Asian Tour victory at the Queen’s Cup in June.
Thongchai, who holds an unprecedented three Asian Tour Order of Merit crowns, expressed his delight following the successful staging of his very first tournament – Thongchai Jaidee Foundation.
“I am very happy with how the event went this week. It’s a milestone for me to be able to host my own tournament. I would like to thank all players, officials and sponsors for their support this week. Without them, the tournament will not be a success,” said the 45-year-old Thai.
“The golf course is in a great shape. Honestly, I didn’t expect the halfway cut to be three-under this week. It’s good to see young players making the cut and playing well. The ADT is a good platform for them to hone their skills and I hope this tournament has given them some good experiences playing against the top golfers out here,” added Thongchai.
Thongchai is the third Asian Tour player after Korea’s K.J. Choi and compatriot Boonchu Ruangkit to host his own tournament.
The sponsors of the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation 2015 include SINGHA, Betagro, Idemitsu, Tune Insurance, Mazda, Ricoh, Oakley and Golf Pride.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.
Leading final round scores:
264 – Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 67 61 68 68
267 – Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 66 66 68 67
269 – Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 65 65 71 68, Berry HENSON (USA) 68 62 70 69
272 – Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 70 68 68 66, Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 68 67 70 67
273 – Pariya JUNHASAVASDIKUL (THA) 68 65 70 70
274 – Simon YATES (SCO) 72 65 67 70
276 – Piya SWANGARUNPORN (THA) 70 66 73 67
277 – Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 70 71 71 65, Brett MUNSON (USA) 71 70 70 66, Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 70 66 74 67, Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 68 70 69 70, Phiphatphong NAEWSUK (THA) 68 65 73 71