Chiangmai, Thailand: Indian Rashid Khan produced a gutsy performance to win his second Asian Tour title by one shot at the US$750,000 Chiangmai Golf Classic presented by PTT.
Khan started the final round two shots behind overnight leader Thanyakon Khrongpha before rallying on the back nine to defeat the Thai and countryman Jyoti Randhawa at the Asian Tour event.
The 23-year-old fired a four-under-par 68 highlighted by birdies on holes nine, 10, 12 and 14 for a winning total of 17-under 271 at the Alpine Golf Resort Chiangmai.
Thanyakon three-putted for bogey on the 16th hole to slip out of contention. But a birdie on the last for a 71 earned him a tied second place finish alongside Randhawa, who settled for a 69 after missing a 20-foot birdie attempt on 18 which would have forced a play-off.
Reigning Asian Tour number one Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand took solo fourth following a 69 while Major champion Jason Dufner of the United States finished in tied seventh place after firing a 66 for his best score this week.
“This win is really special because it is my second win this year and first outside of India. I was looking at the leaderboard and everyone was making a move. But I had faith in my game so heading into the last few holes, I was very confident I could win,” smiled Khan, who won US$135,000.
Khan reaped the benefits of working with his mental coach, Aparna Jain. “You can see the result from this week. She was asking me about my tournament and I told her that I had a chance to win. She just told me to stay patient and now I’m the winner.”
Thanyakon, a two-time Southeast Asian Games gold medallist in the team golf event, was disappointed with a three-putt bogey on 16. He took consolation that his runner-up finish earned him a Tour card for the 2015 season as he moved to 29th position on the Order of Merit.
“I three-putted and it came at the wrong time. But overall I’m very proud with my performance. I was a bit nervous after the turn but a birdie on 13 made me feel relaxed. I fought hard out there but Rashid deserves this win,” said Thanyakon.
Randhawa, an eight-time Asian Tour winner, put pressure on his young countryman when he posted a pair of birdies from the 14thhole. He was disappointed to miss the birdie on 18 to force extra time.
“I played under pressure these last two days and I managed to get my swing right. These young guys look up to me and try to beat me but now I have to keep up with them! I’m looking forward to it and I’m glad that I’m there and a threat to them,” said 42-year-old Randhawa.