Khon Kaen, Thailand: Thaworn Wiratchant rewrote the record books by winning an 18th Asian Tour title after he closed with a five-under-par 67 to lift the trophy in the US$500,000 King’s Cup.
With his second Asian Tour victory this season, the Thai veteran also completed his royal collection having won the Queen’s Cup in 2012 and 2014.
Indian Anirban Lahiri, who led from the opening day, had to settle for a share of second place with Australian Andrew Dodt while Qualifying School graduate Kalem Richardson of Australia shared fourth place with Thai Donthai Boonma and Paul Paterson of the United States.
Trailing overnight leader Lahiri by one shot, Thaworn set off with a blistering pace by reaching the turn in 32 at the Singha Park Khon Kaen Golf Club.
He picked up another advantage with a birdie on 10 before dropping his only shot of the day on the par-four 12.
“It was not easy out there as Anirban and Andrew were piling the pressure on me. It got a little shaky on 12 when I bogeyed for the first time today. But I maintained my composure and managed to see it through,” said Thaworn.
Walking to the 18th hole, the Thai was determined not to let the contest go into a play-off with Lahiri and Dodt who were at 18-under.
“I really wanted to birdie 18 as I did not want to go into a play-off. I was confident of winning in regulation play but not in a play-off,” said Thaworn.
Thaworn remained steady and drained a 15-footer for birdie to close with a winning total of 20-under-par 268.
“It feels good to have the complete Royal collection now. I won the Queen’s Cup and now I can add the King’s Cup to my trophy cabinet,” said Thaworn.
Lahiri was disappointed not to have won again as victory would have meant more world ranking points and allowed him to close the gap on Order of Merit leader David Lipsky of the United States.
“I wasn’t at my best today as I was really struggling on the greens. I had my chances and I didn’t take them. I don’t think I played poorly but it was just not good enough to close it out.
“I missed way too many putts and it was disappointing to miss a short one on the last and that is going to hurt my world ranking. I’m upset with that. I’ve just got to pick myself up and win next week,” said the 27-year-old Indian.