Chiangmai, Thailand: Chapchai Nirat birdied the final three holes to beat off a strong challenge from fellow-Thai Pipatpong Naewsuk and win the Singha Chiangmai Open.
Two shots ahead overnight, Chapchai surrendered the lead to the hard-charging Pipatpong at the 13th hole before turning on the after-burners and sizzling home in 64 for a two-stroke victory in the ASEAN PGA Tour event.
Chapchai, a birdie machine when on song, finished on 23-under 261 at the par-71 Mae Jo Golf Resort & Spa.
“I am very happy to have won but I feel a bit lucky,” said Chapchai, who missed the fairway with his three-wood at the last but recovered brilliantly for a birdie. “Again I could not get putts to drop today. The greens here are really good, but the pace changed a bit with the rain and I left three or four on the lip.”
The burly 31-year-old held the lead going into the final round of last month’s Singha Panasonic Hua Hin Open before losing out to current ASEAN PGA Tour number one Gunn Charoenkul but he refused to admit defeat on Sunday.
Pipatpong, a double gold medallist at the 2007 SEA Games where he edged countryman Kiradech Aphibarnrat into silver medal position in the individual event, piled the pressure on the three-time Asian Tour winner with six birdies in seven holes from the seventh.
He hit the front with a birdie on the 13th where Chapchai bogeyed resulting in a two-shot swing.
Chapchai, who showed a welcome return to form with victory in the Singha Championship on the All Thailand Golf Tour in May, dug in and used his power to great effect down the stretch.
He drew level with Pipatpong, who is steadily finding his way again in the game after completing two years of Army service, with a birdie at the 16th. Both had tap-in birdies at the par-three 17th with Chapchai edging the thrilling shootout by two strokes with his final hole birdie, Pipatpong having dropped his only shot of the day for a 64.
“I’ve had a good week and could have won, but I hit a poor shot on 18 when I flew past the flag and then it was a poor putt, which was a disappointing way to finish. But I have to congratulate Chapchai,” said Pipatpong.
“He was fantastic today and to birdie the last from where he was is amazing. I’m looking forward to Penang next week (on the ASEAN PGA Tour) and continuing my good form.”
Teenager Jazz Janewattananond, the third member of the low-scoring final group, finished four shots behind the winner in third place after a 65. The trio put on an amazing display of golf with a total of 23 birdies between them.
The sixth leg of the 2014 ASEAN PGA Tour schedule is the PGM-ASEAN PGA Penang Classic from August 6-9.
Shenzhen, China: PacificPine Sports, the exclusive operator of PGA of America Youth Development academies in China, has joined the Asian Golf Industry Federation.