May 21, 2017: Young Thai Rattanon Wannasrichan completed a sensational wire-to-wire victory at the Thailand Open, closing with a four-under-par 67 to win by two shots for his maiden Asian Tour success on Sunday.
The baby-faced 21-year-old, who held a one-shot lead heading into the final round, kept his composure to return with a round of five birdies against one bogey and a winning total of 21-under-par 263 at the Thai Country Club.
Despite stumbling with a bogey on the last, Rattanon managed to hold off the combined challenges from Indian duo Shiv Kapur and Gaganjeet Bhullar, who settled for second place, in the US$300,000 event, which returned onto the Asian Tour schedule this week following an eight-year lapse.
Kapur, who was chasing for back-to-back wins, sank four straight birdies in his closing five holes to pile the pressure on Rattanon before signing for the day’s best score of a 63.
“It was disappointing to miss the birdie to get to 20-under but I am not complaining with a closing 63. I played a great round of golf. If you told me I would shoot a 63 at the start of the day, I would have taken it”, said Kapur.
Bhullar, a seven-time Asian Tour winner, impressed with a birdie-birdie finish after chipping in from 35 yards on the 18 to close with a second consecutive 67.
“It was a great finish with two consecutive birdies to grab a share of second place. I played so well and I thought at the end of the day, I will either win or finish inside top-five. I am very happy with the way I played. It’s been very special”, said Bhullar.
Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat battled to a 70 to finish four shots back in fourth place while compatriot Danthai Boonma grabbed fifth on 268 following a bogey-free 66.
Reigning Order of Merit champion Scott Hend of Australia marked his best efforts of the week with a solid 64, finishing in sixth place on 269 alongside three other players, including Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who closed with a 70.
The final round of the Thailand Open was delayed for two hours and 45 minutes in the morning due to heavy rain and lightning threats. Play commenced only at 10am local time.
The Thailand Open, inaugurated in 1965, is also the first leg of the newly launched Panasonic Swing, which provides a bonus pool across five designated tournaments.