Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert defeated compatriot Phachara Khongwatmai and Australian David Gleeson with an incredible chip-in birdie on the second play-off hole to clinch his second Asian Tour title in style at the Sabah Masters on Sunday.

The 30-year-old Pavit, who suffered a play-off defeat at the Thailand Open two weeks ago, redeemed himself by emerging victorious in a four-way play-off against Phachara, Gleeson and Aman Raj of India at the Sutera Harbour Golf and Country Club.

Pavit marked his week’s best efforts with a closing six-under-par 65 to force extra time with Phachara (67), Gleeson (68) and Raj (63) after the quartet ended regulation play with matching totals of 13-under-par 271s at the US$300,000 full-field Asian Tour event.

The first play-off hole, which was held on the par-four 18, saw Raj bow out with a bogey while the others made pars. The remaining trio found the center fairway on the second extra hole but their second shots were all short of the green.

It was Pavit who sealed the deal with his 15-yard chip-in birdie from the fringe while Phachara and Gleeson missed their chips to settle for pars. Pavit’s birdie on the 74th hole is only the second one recorded in the final round of the Sabah Masters.

The inaugural Sabah Masters is proudly supported by the Tourism Malaysia with an aim to boost tourism in Sabah.

Did you know?

  • Pavit Tangkamolprasert marked his week’s lowest round with a closing 65. Starting the final round with a three-shot deficit, Pavit dropped a shot on his third hole but bounced back brilliantly with seven birdies on his way home to force the play-off.
  • Pavit’s stats this week were very strong across the board, he led the field in birdies with 24, Driving Distance 316 yards (1st), Putts/GIR 1.591 (3rd),  Putts/Round 1.44 (5th), GIR 68.06% (T10th) , Driving Accuracy 85.71% (T10th).
  • Pavit is a six-time champion on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), where he was crowned the Order of Merit champion in 2014. He shares the record of the most wins on the ADT with Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei.
  • He claimed his first Asian Tour victory at the 2016 Macao Open, also in a play-off where he defeated India’s Anirban Lahiri.
  • He had also defeated Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang in a play-off at the 2016 Charming Yeandger ADT, which was his biggest victory yet on the region’s secondary circuit.
  • Enjoyed his career-best season yet on the Asian Tour in 2016 where he finished 12th on the Order of Merit.
  • Pavit lost in a playoff at the Thailand Open two weeks ago and had another top-10 on this year’s Asian Tour at the Bank BRI Indonesia Open where he finished tied-sixth.
  • On the All Thailand Golf Tour (ATGT), Pavit has racked up eight top-10s in 10 outings this season and in the last two of those in the weeks leading up to Thailand Open, he finished tied-third and tied-second.
  • Pavit moved up from 35th place to 18th place on the Order of Merit following his victory.
  • Pavit comes from a golfing family. His dad brought him into the game and his younger brother and sister are professional golfers too.
  • Phachara Khongwatmai marked his fourth top-10 result this season with his tied-second place finish at the Sabah Masters.
  • The 20-year-old Phachara had led the first two rounds but a double-bogey on the last hole in the third round saw him slip out of the lead for the first time this week. The young Thai, however, fought back brilliantly in the final round with four straight birdies from the 11th hole to secure his berth in the play-off.
  • Phachara came into prominence when he won the 2015 PGM CCM Rahman Putra Championship to become the youngest ADT winner at the age of 15.
  • Phachara enjoyed his career-best season yet on the Asian Tour in 2017, where he came in third.
  • David Gleeson, who hails from Queensland, was left to wait longer for his comeback victory after missing out on his fourth title and first since 2011 at the Sabah Masters.
  • The 41-year-old Gleeson had agonisingly missed a 12-footer on the last hole in regulation play to seal the victory.
  • Gleeson’s last victory came at the 2011 Hero Indian Open. He claimed his first victory at the 2002 Volvo China Open and his second title at the 2008 Macau Open.
  • Gleeson’s joint runner-up finish at the Sabah Masters came after missing four cuts in as many starts on Tour this year.  
  • Gleeson turned professional in 1998 and reached a career high of 154th on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) in January of 2009.
  • Aman Raj of India secured his 2019 Asian Tour card after coming through the Qualifying School last December. He has enjoyed a consistent season so far, missing only three cuts in 11 starts.
  • The 24-year-old Indian would mark his best result ever on the Asian Tour with his joint runner-up finish at the Sabah Masters this week.
  • After turning professional in 2016, Raj travelled to Thailand for Asian Tour Qualifying School but was forced to return home after fracturing his jaw following a fall in the bathroom. He was out of action for two months after that.

Players’ quotes:

Pavit Tangkamolprasert (Tha) – Final round 65 (-6), Total 271 (-13)

It’s incredible. I really didn’t expect this. I didn’t even expect to get into a play-off. I finished my round early and I already changed out of my golfing attire and getting ready to go to the airport! Had to change back again when I know I’m in the play-off. It’s really incredible.

But this is golf. You never know what will happen till the last minute. I came close to winning the Thailand Open two weeks ago. I felt more pressure that week since it’s my National Open. But this week, I am more relaxed and I think that helped me a lot.

I hit my irons really well today. Putted well too. Didn’t get off to a good start. I dropped a shot on the third but made a lot of birdies after that to make the play-off. I have been working very hard on my game lately. It’s great to finally win.

Since my first win in Macao, I have had some setbacks, battling with a wrist injury. But it’s all in the past now. In golf, you just got to keep trying. You don’t know when it will come so you need to keep trying.

David Gleeson (Aus) – Final round 68 (-3), Total 271 (-13)

I feel good about the last round, I did everything that I wanted to do. I don’t think I really made any sort of, you know, like a crazy sort of errors it was just all very patient which is just a really good feeling.

I made some good birdies; I missed a few more birdies. You know I’m still not driving the ball great, but this course suits me because I can hit some three-woods and irons. I just really felt quite good today actually, just within myself, and what shots I was trying to hit.

I was actually almost getting close to matching what I was seeing and feeling without sort of worrying about nerves. So you know that’s a good sign.

I think my game is better than it was back in the past. It’s more complete than back then. I played at a very high sort of emotional level back then. That’s what I have been working on, just to relax and enjoy the game.

Better pre-shot routines are in place and more routines for the whole week are in place. That’s the goal coming to next year, so let’s keep doing this for, well, until seniors, I guess!

Aman Raj (Ind) – Final round 63 (-8), Total 271 (-13)

Everything felt like was working in my way. Especially the putting part, because you know I’ve been hitting it decent saving my pars, but today was all about everything going in. I started with a chip in on the second hole.

Then again made birdie on the fifth hole and missed on the sixth, made a good par on the sixth actually, then seventh and eighth long putts for birdie. On 10th hole I made birdie from like 10 feet so that was good.

On the 11th I again had a chance from eight feet, but missed that, so I’m like that was a chance to like “go”. On the 13th I made birdie, that’s a good hole to make birdie It is kind of tough. I would say the toughest hole on this golf course. And I’ve been bogeying it like two days I believe. So yeah, there, that was the game changer.

I birdied the 15th and 16th and the 17th was a good two-putt from like 30 feet. On the 18th was again a good chip but for par, I tried for the chip-in but at the same time I had to keep my par safe. So, all in all I’m happy with today’s round.

I have been in an amateur play-off once or twice and, like, to be honest I haven’t won a play-off. It feels good to be in an Asian Tour play-off, I’ve never been in a play-off as a professional, so this is the first time.

Coming to the last I knew that I’m close, but at the same time, you know, I was just like, you know, there are a lot of a lot of people playing right now a lot of holes left, anything can happen. So just try your best, whatever you perform and look for it afterwards.

Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) – Final round 67 (-4), Total 271 (-13)

I quite work hard today because I had a bad start on the front nine and then good to come back with four birdies in a row. I tried to make a couple more birdies more, but I can’t make it. But it’s okay I’m happy in this position right now.

This morning I’m just thinking like I thought maybe, like three rounds, just play my game. This afternoon, the rain came too late and I have to play 18. Still a good finish. I am happy for my friend Pavit. He deserves the win.

Scores after round 4 of the Sabah Masters 2019 being played at the par 71, 6932 Yards Sutera Harbour Golf and Country Club course (am – denotes amateur):

271 – Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA) 73-66-67-65, Aman Raj (IND) 68-70-70-63, David Gleeson (AUS) 66-69-68-68, Phachara Khongwatmai (THA) 66-67-71-67.

274 – Yikeun Chang (KOR) 70-68-70-66, Rashid Khan (IND) 67-70-69-68, Wang Wei-lun (TPE) 67-68-70-69.

275 – Daniel Fox (AUS) 71-68-68-68, Jakraphan Premsirigorn (THA) 68-71-66-70, Danthai Boonma (THA) 73-66-71-65, Sungho Lee (KOR) 67-68-71-69.

276 – Suttijet Kooratanapisan (THA) 68-71-69-68, Rory Hie (INA) 73-69-65-69, Aaron Wilkin (AUS) 66-71-71-68, Joohyung Kim (KOR) 67-70-71-68, Udayan Mane (IND) 68-68-69-71.

277 – Sattaya Supupramai (THA) 70-70-67-70.

278 – Ben Geyer (USA) 71-69-69-69, Travis Smyth (AUS) 70-71-68-69, Mardan Mamat (SIN) 70-71-68-69.

279 – Aadil Bedi (IND) 70-70-70-69, Josh Younger (AUS) 69-71-70-69, Kosuke Hamamoto (THA) 69-72-72-66, Brian Jung (CAN) 73-66-71-69, Taewoo Kim #1468 (KOR) 72-70-69-68, Siddikur Rahman (BAN) 68-69-71-71, Soonsang Hong (KOR) 70-67-69-73.

280 – Soomin Lee (KOR) 69-70-76-65, Joshua Andrew Wirawan (INA) 66-73-70-71, Teemu Putkonen (FIN) 70-72-69-69, Jaewoong Eom (KOR) 68-74-70-68, Chapchai Nirat (THA) 70-68-72-70.

281 – Liu Yanwei (CHN) 69-71-72-69, Cory Crawford (AUS) 70-71-68-72, Jack Harrison (ENG) 70-71-67-73, Jack Murdoch (AUS) 70-69-74-68, Poosit Supupramai (THA) 69-73-70-69, Dongha Lee #562 (KOR) 68-67-72-74.

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