Samui, Thailand, June 19: Local favourite Chawalit Plaphol claimed the Queen’s Cup on Sunday as he ended a frustrating five-year Asian Tour drought and completed a unique Thai double.
The 36-year-old, who led by one overnight, produced a polished three-under-par 68 at the Santiburi Samui Country Club to beat countryman Prayad Marksaeng, who closed with a bogey-free 67, by two shots.
Japan’s Daisuke Marumaya settled for third place, six shots back after a 73 while South African Peter Karmis eagled his last hole for a 70 to take fourth place in the US$300,000 Asian Tour event on the holiday isle of Samui.
“This feels good. I’ve not had a trophy in five years. My last win (Bangkok Airways Open) was also on this course, so I felt quite confident of winning. I’m happy to have the Queen’s trophy as I have won the King’s Cup before when it was a local event,” said Chawalit, who earned US$47,550 for his third Asian Tour success.
After opening with a bogey on another wind-swept day, Chawalit, who totaled 11-under-par 273, produced some magnificent golf to remain ahead of the chasing pack, shooting birdies on six and eight to keep his one-shot advantage.
The smooth-swinging Thai rolled in a pivotal 15-footer on 11, nearly holed-in-one on 15 for birdie and then converted another birdie opportunity from four feet on 17 to open up a three-shot gap which gave him the luxury of dropping a bogey on the last hole in front of his fans.
“I had a good feeling today. It was difficult on every hole with the strong winds. I had to be in control, had to be patient. It was in my hands. My tee shots were good and I wasn’t worried about Maruyama or Prayad. I knew if my tee shots were good, I would be okay,” said Chawalit.
Prayad endured his third top-three finish in seven years at the demanding Santiburi Samui after fighting all the way with a blemish-free card highlighted by four birdies. He turned in 33 but could only produce another birdie on 15 as his countryman eventually coasted to victory.
“I’m happy. I thought if I shot four or five under, I would have a chance to win but Chawalit simply played better. On the back nine, I kept leaving my putts short of the hole,” said the 45-year-old Prayad, who was chasing his seventh Asian Tour win.
“The winds made it difficult all day and it was hard to get the ball close the flags. I am still winless here but one day, I’m sure I will win a tournament in Samui.”
Maruyama stayed within striking reach of the leader after turning in 36 but a costly double bogey on the par three 13th hole following an errant tee shot derailed his title ambition.
“I didn’t play good. I couldn’t make birdies. I just couldn’t putt. It was blowing which made it harder. Chawalit played really good and he deserves the win,” said the Japanese.
Canadian veteran Rick Gibson, who lost in a play-off to Chawalit five years ago, shot the day’s best with a 65 to share fifth place with back-in-form Prom Meesawat of Thailand and South African Jbe Kruger on 281.
Leading final round scores at the Queen's Cup being played at the par 71, 6,870 yards Santiburi Samui Country Club (a- denotes amateur)
273 - Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 70-67-68-68.
275 - Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 65-73-70-67.
279 - Daisuke MARUYAMA (JPN) 68-67-71-73.
280 - Peter KARMIS (RSA) 70-70-70-70.
281 - Rick GIBSON (CAN) 72-74-70-65, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 70-73-71-67, Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 67-68-73-73.
282 - Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 72-74-69-67, Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 66-72-73-71.
283 - Tjaart VAN DER WALT (RSA) 72-74-68-69, Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA) 69-67-74-73, Gavin FLINT (AUS) 67-71-69-76, Somkiat SRISANGA (THA) 70-67-69-77.
284 – Mo Joong-kyung (KOR) 70-69-71-74, Mars PUCAY (PHI) 70-73-67-74.
285 - SIDDIKUR (BAN) 69-68-74-74, Lin Wen-hong (TPE) 72-68-70-75, Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND) 73-69-67-76.
Photo - Asian Tour
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