Samui, Thailand Thai veteran star Thaworn Wiratchant came from five shots back to win an unprecedented 17th Asian Tour victory with a classy one-stroke triumph at the Queen’s Cup on Sunday.
The 47-year-old Thaworn holed a five foot birdie putt on the closing hole to pip overnight leader Poom Saksansin with a final round of five-under-par 66 at the Santiburi Samui Country Club to lift the Queen’s Cup for the second time in three years.
Thai rookie Poom, who had led since the opening day, settled for the runner-up spot in the US$300,000 tournament after a closing 72 while Bangladeshi star Siddikur Rahman, who briefly held the lead on the back nine, and signed off with a disappointing 72 to share third place with Thailand’s Donlapatchai Niyomchon (68). “It is so meaningful to me, whether it’s a small or big tournament. At every tournament, I am always trying my best. There was pressure this morning as I wanted to go out there and play some good golf,” said a delighted Thaworn, whose winner’s cheque of US$54,000 lifted his career earnings on Tour to over US$4 million.
The unorthodox swinging Thaworn surged into a one-shot lead with a birdie on 14 but made life difficult for himself by dropping a bogey on 17 after missing a four-foot par attempt. With Poom, who was wobbly with an outward 39, fighting back with birdies on 16 and 17 to make it a three-way tie going into the final hole, Thaworn’s experience came through in the end. The home hero found the green in two at the par five 18th hole and with Siddikur and Poom both struggling after hitting wayward approach shots, Thaworn duly rolled in a five-foot putt much to the delight of his adoring fans. “I knew I had to play well on 18. I wasn’t very confident as I made bogey on 17. I aimed for the green and if it didn’t get on the green, I knew it would be around the green which would give me a birdie chance. I was confident from there onwards,” said Thaworn, who totaled 12-under-par 272 for the week. “The putt for birdie, I felt I could make it. It was hard to say where I was in control. Siddikur played well and Poom was always there. Today, I think I got lucky.”
Leading by one overnight, the 21-year-old Poom struggled with nerves to drop three early bogeys but fought back with brave birdie putts on 16 and 17. “Although I didn’t win, I am still happy. There was pressure, I couldn’t control my ball flight. It was like a bird, it was going everywhere. Thaworn told me to try to calm down. He was trying to help me but I still couldn’t hit and putt,” said Poom, who earned US$33,000. “On 16 and 17, I managed to get some birdies back (to draw level). But on 18, I got pressured again. It was not easy. I tried to hit a hook shot into the green but hit a duck hook into a bad spot. I nearly chipped it in, just a bit short at the end.”
EurAsia Cup star Siddikur was disappointed he let victory slip from his grasp and was kicking himself with a closing bogey which dropped him into a share of third place. “Everything was bad. It was very disappointing, especially on 18. I still had a chance to get a birdie but unfortunately I got a bogey. It made a big difference. The ball didn’t want to go in. I had a chance but it didn’t happen. It’s okay, it’s part of the game. Thaworn deserved it as he made some big putts. It was awesome putting by him,” said Siddikur, who settled for his fourth top-10 in Samui.
Korea’s Baek Seuk-hyun was fifth on 276 while Singapore’s Choo Tze Huang grabbed his first top-10 on the Asian Tour with a closing 68 for tied sixth place with Canadian Richard T. Lee and Korea’s Wang Jeung-hun.
The main sponsors of the Queen’s Cup are Bangkok Airways and Sports Authority of Thailand.
Golf Scores after round 4 of the Queen’s Cup Bangkok Airways – SAT Samui Golf 2014 being played at the par 71, 6,823 Yards Santiburi GC course (a- denotes amateur):
272 – Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 71-68-67-66. 273 – Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 66-67-68-72. 274 – Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) 68-68-70-68, Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) 68-70-64-72. 276 – BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR) 69-66-71-70. 278 – CHOO Tze Huang (SIN) 67-72-71-68, Richard T. LEE (CAN) 69-71-69-69, WANG Jeung-hun (KOR) 72-69-68-69. 279 – Pariya JUNHASAVASDIKUL (THA) 77-68-68-66, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 71-71-69-68, Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 73-70-68-68, Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 69-71-70-69, Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 72-67-69-71. 280 – Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 71-74-71-64, Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND) 71-73-68-68, Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 69-71-70-70. 281 – Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 74-68-71-68.
Source: Asian Tour