taifongThai teenager Rattanon Wanasrichan saved his best for last when he fired a seven-under-par 65 to win his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) title at the Taifong Open on Sunday.

The 20-year-old shot eight birdies to return with a winning total of 12-under-par 276 to defeat a battling Casey O’Toole (66) of the United States and overnight leader Jordan Sherratt (71) of Australia by one shot at the Taifong Golf Club.

Lu Wei-chih was the best placed local player after returning with a 67 to share fourth place alongside Thailand’s Natthapong Niyomchon, who shot a 72, at the US$160,000 ADT event.

The baby-faced Rattanon, who was five shots back at the start of the day, got off to a hot start when he opened with three birdies. He added three more birdies in the middle of the round and sealed the deal with two closing birdies.

“I told myself that if I can birdie the last hole then I can win. I managed to do that so I’m proud of myself. I was five shots back after round three so I didn’t think I can win. I just played my own game and I’m glad that I won.

“After my hot start, I told myself that I have a chance to win. This is my best score this week and it is because I was hitting it very good with my irons and putter. My putting was key in today’s win,” smiled Rattanon, who dropped only one shot on hole 14.

He is now aiming to win his first Asian Tour title after taking home a winner’s cheque of US$28,000 and becoming the fifth Thai player to win on the ADT this year. He is also the 12th first-time winner on the ADT in 2015.

“Now that I’ve won my first title on the ADT, I want to try and win on the Asian Tour. That is my dream and goal this year,” said Rattanon.

O’Toole continued his good run of form on the ADT after claiming his seventh top-10 result. He birdied four in his opening five holes and added three more birdies, including two on 17 and 18 to set the early clubhouse pace before Rattanon charged home to victory.

The American held his head high despite missing out on a breakthrough win. “It feels good because I was five back heading into the final round. I’m happy with how I played. The second round hurt me but finishing it off with two birdies was nice and it kept me in contention today.

“To start the second half of the season on the right foot is good. I played as well as I could. I just got outplayed but that’s okay,” said O’Toole, who moved to second place on the Order of Merit.

Australia’s Sherratt missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the last hole to force a play-off and was disappointed not to win his career’s first title after leading for two days.

“I was a bit nervous to start with. I three putted the first hole and that wasn’t the best. I played pretty well from there until I reached the 15th hole. I just hit a bad tee shot for bogey and three putted for another bogey on 16,” he explained.

“It was a good week but disappointing to lead for so long and not win. I needed to make birdie on the 18 to force a play-off and to be honest, it wasn’t that hard of a putt to make but I just didn’t hit a very good putt. It is what it is.”

Since it was inaugurated in 2010, the ADT has grown from five events in the first year to a record 21 tournaments in 2014. The ADT has announced a provisional 2015 schedule of a minimum 24 tournaments with several more to be announced in due course.

The ADT will continue to reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2016.

With the Olympic Games looming in 2016 where golf will be reintroduced as a medal sport, players in the region could earn their spots in Rio de Janeiro by earning Official World Golf Ranking points through the Asian Tour and ADT.

For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com


Leading final round scores:

276 – Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 71 70 70 65

277 – Casey O’TOOLE (USA) 66 74 71 66, Jordan SHERRATT (AUS) 68 67 71 71

279 – LU Wei-chih (TWN) 69 69 74 67, Natthapong NIYOMCHON (THA) 69 69 69 72

280 – LEE Chieh-po (TWN) 69 68 72 71

281 – Panuwat MUENLEK (THA) 75 70 67 69, Khalin JOSHI (IND) 66 73 70 72, KAO Teng (TWN) 72 67 70 72

282 – CHAN Shih-chang (TWN) 70 71 72 69, Arie Irawan (MAS) 74 71 67 70, Sejun YOON (USA) 69 70 73 70, Pijit PETCHKASEM (THA) 70 67 73 72, SUNG Mao-chang (TWN) 70 70 69 73

283 – Danthai BOONMA (THA) 70 70 73 70, HSU Hao-sheng (TWN) 73 71 68 71

- Advertisement -