February 13, 2016: The Kurmitola Golf Club in Dhaka was venue today for a Thai coronation. Three of the top four golfers in the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open were from Thailand, with Thitiphun Chuayprakong winning the title by a comfortable two stroke margin over Sutijet Kooratanapisan. India’s Shubhankar Sharma signed for a splendid 65 to take third place on his own on 270 while compatriot Chikkarangappa S. (73) shared fourth with Phachara Khongwatmai of Thailand (68) on 272.
The 23-year-old Thai, who held a three-shot lead heading into the final round, kept his composure to return with a round of five birdies against a lone bogey for a winning total of 21-under-par 263 at the Kurmitola Golf Club.
Countryman Sutijet Kooratanapisan surmounted a strong final day charge with a 66 but was not enough to pip Thitiphun to the win as he settled for second place, marking his best finish on the region’s premier Tour.
Shakhawat Sohel emerged as the highest-placed Bangladeshi for the second consecutive year at the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open after closing a 68 to take sixth place on 273.
Thitiphun showed his is the man for the big occasion when he hit his pinpoint approach shot from about 150 yards in the rough to six-feet from the pin before taking two putts to par the par-four 18 for his breakthrough victory.
“I have been waiting for this win for a very long time. I have worked really hard for this. I practiced with Sutijet a lot back home and we are very good friends. I knew he will play good today and he did. I guess I am lucky,” said Thitiphun, nicknamed ‘Tote’ by his friends which means slow as he does things in his own pace.
“I got a bit excited on the last hole because Sutijet birdied 17 and I only had a one shot lead but I just tried my best. When I hit my tee shot into the rough, I thought I should just hit it closer to the pin first. I managed to do that. I think my short game was what helped me to win this week,” added Thitiphun, who pocketed US$54,000 courtesy of his win.
Sharma (66-68-71-65) credited his hot putter for a commendable bogey-free round highlighted by six birdies and a best finish on the region’s premier Tour.
“I started very well. I birdied the first two holes. That made a lot of difference. I was able to ride on my momentum from there. I missed some opportunities for birdies out there but it’s alright. I think I played really well, especially on my back nine. I wasn’t in the mix so I didn’t think I had a chance. I just wanted to play my best,” said the 19-year-old Indian, who amassed 25 putts.
Chikkarangappa failed to reproduce the magic he showed on Friday, ending the tournament with a tame 73. But that was still good enough for T4 and the confident Bengalurean looks set to do well in the coming weeks.
Shankar Das fired a 65 to jump into tied ninth alongside Gaganjeet Bhullar, who finished inside the top ten despite a 75 on Saturday.
Khalin Joshi shot 69 to finish in T35 along with Sujjan Singh who made 71 in the final round. Rahul Bajaj and Abhijit Chadha ended the week in 41st and 51st places respectively after they made 75 and 76 today. Amardip Malik withdrew from the tournament after the third round.
263 – Thitiphun CHUAYPRAKONG (THA) 65-66-65-67.
265 – Sutijet KOORATANAPISAN (THA) 67-67-65-66.
270 – Shubhankar SHARMA (IND) 66-68-71-65.
272 – Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA) 68-69-67-68, Chikkarangappa S. (IND) 68-66-65-73.
273 – Shakhawat SOHEL (BAN) 70-66-69-68.
274 – Soomin LEE (KOR) 64-69-74-67, Zamal HOSSAIN (BAN) 68-69-68-69.
275 – Shankar DAS (IND) 70-71-69-65, Johannes VEERMAN (USA) 69-69-70-67, Scott VINCENT (ZIM) 68-66-72-69, Shunya TAKEYASU (JPN) 64-71-68-72, Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 67-67-66-75.
276 – Yikeun CHANG (KOR) 70-71-69-66, Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 69-67-71-69, Malcolm KOKOCINSKI (SWE) 69-68-70-69, Md. Abdul MATIN (BAN) 68-68-70-70.
277 – Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 66-69-73-69.
278 – Giwhan KIM (KOR) 70-68-71-69, Carlos PIGEM (ESP) 70-69-70-69, Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 69-67-72-70, Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 70-70-67-71, Kemarol BAHARIN (MAS) 69-69-67-73.