New Delhi: Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand birdied the last hole to win his first Asian Tour title at the SAIL Open on Friday.
Kiradech returned with four-under-par 68 for a four-day total of 16-under-par 272 to defeat Siddikur of Bangladesh by one stroke at the Delhi Golf Club.
India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu battled tooth-and-nail before dropping a shot on the 16th hole. He finished in third place on a 274 total while compatriot Manav Jaini finished one stroke back at the US$300,000 event co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGTI.
Highly rated Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines birdied the first hole but wobbled in the back nine where he returned with two bogeys and one triple bogey on 17. He closed with 76 for a 288 total to finish in tied 30th place in what is his first professional tournament.
Kiradech, 21, turned in 35 before posting birdies on holes 10, 12 and 14. He was level with Siddikur after dropping a shot on hole 16 and admitted to feeling nervous when he stepped up to sink the winning putt from three feet.
“The putt on the last was very near but my hand was shaking! I’m just happy I won. I’ve waited two years for this and I’m very proud of myself,” said Kiradech, who dropped on his knees after sinking the winning putt.
He was delighted to find the winning touch after being in contention four times last year. “I learned a lot from my last two years on the Asian Tour. I felt nervous but I told myself to stick to my game plan and concentrate on my game. That worked for me,” smiled the burly Thai, who won US$47,550.
Siddikur, the first Bangladeshi to win on the Asian Tour, was in the hunt for his second Asian Tour title but struggled with his irons as he returned with two birdies against one bogey in a round of 71.
“Overall I enjoyed my round and losing is part of the game. I’m getting better and my confidence level is still high. Kiradech played really good and deserved the win. It was his day,” said Siddikur.
He could have forced a play-off if he birdied the last hole but saw his title aspirations fade when his tee shot landed in the rough.
“The last hole is quite an easy hole and I could have forced a play-off if I birdied that hole. I only made par and that caused me the title,” he added.
Little known Sandhu, 22, who missed the halfway cut in the Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage in Thailand earlier this year, turned in 34 before adding a pair of birdies and bogeys to finish two strokes behind the champion.
He hopes his strong finish this week will spur him on to better performances this year.
“This is a good finish for me and it will be a confidence booster for my career. I gave it my all out there but the bogey on 16 spoiled my card,” said Sandhu, who honed his skills at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy in the United States from 2005 to 2007.
Leading fourth round scores
272 - Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 68-67-69-68
273 - Siddikur (BAN) 68-67-67-71
274 - Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND) 69-67-68-70
275 - Manav Jaini (IND) 68-73-64-70
276 - Akinori Tani (JPN) 68-67-70-71
278 - Anirban Lahiri (IND) 66-71-72-69
279 - Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 70-72-68-69
280 - Namchok Tantipokhakul (THA) 72-69-67-72, Joonas Granberg (FIN) 69-73-69-69, Daisuke Kataoka (JPN) 73-69-69-69
281 - Chinnarat Phadungsil (THA) 74-68-73-66
282 - Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 67-69-72-74, Mars Pucay (PHI) 69-71-72-70, Rashid Khan (IND) 73-71-68-70, Niall Turner (IRL) 71-71-71-69
283 - Shamim Khan (IND) 72-67-71-73, Peter Karmis (RSA) 71-71-69-72, Ben Fox (USA) 70-71-71-71, Rahil Gangjee (IND) 72-71-72-68
284 - Digvijay Singh (IND) 72-70-68-74, Prom Meesawat (THA) 68-68-77-71, Raju Ali (IND) 71-72-74-67
Photo - Asian Tour
Asian Tour GolfGreedy.com