Pattaya, Thailand, April 14: Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul, one of the most exciting prospects in Asian golf, extended his lead in the “Road to Sabah” rankings on the ASEAN PGA Tour after a joint fifth place finish in the Singha Pattaya Open on Sunday.
Gunn won the season-opening Singha Esan Open for the second time in three years last month and kept up his good form at Burapha Golf Club.
He picked up US$2,811 for fifth spot giving the 22 year old a total of US$16,249 after two events.
Gunn leads fellow Thai Kwanchai Tannin, the 2013 Order of Merit winner who moved into second place on US$8,612 after his runner-up finish to veteran Prayad Marksaeng at the Singha Pattaya Open.
Winning the ASEAN PGA Tour Order of Merit would lead to increased playing opportunities for Gunn in Asia and he is appreciative of the Tour’s role in helping up-and-coming professionals in the region.
“The ASEAN PGA Tour has been a big help to me,” he said in an interview. “It is a good stepping stone – the ASEAN PGA gives us so many chances to step up to the different level.”
Gunn, who split his time in recent years between honing his golf game and studying for a Business Studies degree at Bangkok University, enjoys some of the best practice facilities in Asia at his home in Khao Lak, southern Thailand.
“My dad built me a three hole course,” he explained. “My game improved a lot after playing there. Originally he only built one hole but he has expanded it. There are no distractions, I can concentrate on improving my game.”
The Singha Pattaya Open was part of the newly launched “Road to the Sabah Masters”, the tournament where the 2014 Order of Merit champion will be crowned.
The next ASEAN PGA Tour event is the PGM-ASEAN PGA Orna Championship at Orna Golf & Country Club. The tournament will be played from May 28-31 and is one of three events in 2014 jointly sanctioned with the PGM Tour – Malaysia’s flourishing domestic circuit.
“Road to Sabah” ASEAN PGA Tour rankings after Singha Pattaya Open
1 Gunn Charoenkul (THA) US$16,249
2 Kwanchai Tannin (THA) US$8,612
3 Teerawat Poipong (THA) US$7,045
4 Thanyakon Khrongpha (THA) US$5,326
5 Namchok Tantipokhakul (THA) US$5,160