Melaka, Malaysia: Highly-rated Thai Gunn Charoenkul cruised to victory in the PGM-ASEAN PGA Melaka Championship, a closing two-under 70 handing him his second title of the season.
Gunn, the current ASEAN PGA Tour number one following his win at the season-opening Singha Esan Open, posted a seven-under total of 281 and finished three shots clear of Malaysian Iylia Jamil, who closed with a 71 for outright second at Ayer Keroh Country Club.
Mohd Sukree Othman of Malaysia, the overnight co-leader with Gunn, slumped to a four-over 76 and tied for sixth place with countryman Nicholas Fung, who was fancied for the title having won the PGM Melaka Classic here last September, and Thai Pipatpong Naewsuk. Fung and Pipatpong closed with matching 72s.
Gunn, who led after the first round following an outstanding 67, pulled away from the field early with back-to-back birdies on the fifth and sixth holes. He dropped a shot at the eighth yet still held a two-stroke advantage at the turn.
He picked up another shot at the 10th before giving it straight back on 11. But a birdie on 15 ensured a relatively stress-free closing stretch. The champion pocketed a cheque for US$9,031 that took his earnings for the season on the ASEAN PGA Tour to US$25,280.
Gunn first made an impression on the ASEAN PGA Tour in 2012 when he won the Singha Esan Open in a play-off with Fung.
He did not defend the title in 2013 due to university examinations but again showed his liking for the Singha Park Golf Club layout with a two-shot victory in this year’s Singha Esan Open.
The talented Thai has honed his game at a three-hole practice facility that his father built for him at his home in Khao Lak, southern Thailand, saying that he can work on his swing ‘with no distractions’.
The next ASEAN PGA Tour event will be the Singha Hua Hin Open at Royal Hua Hin Golf Club from July 17-20 where Thai Phachara Khongwatmai will defend the title he won last year as a 14-year-old amateur. The feat saw him become the youngest ever winner of a professional golf tournament.
The Singha Hua Hin Open will be the fourth leg of the recently launched ‘Road to the Sabah Masters’, the tournament where the 2014 Order of Merit champion will be crowned.