Evergreen Prayad Reigns Once More

Prayad Marksaeng prevailed at Santiburi Samui Country Club. Picture by Paul Lakatos/Asian Tour.
Prayad Marksaeng prevailed at Santiburi Samui Country Club. Picture by Paul Lakatos/Asian Tour.

Koh Samui, Thailand: Thai veteran Prayad Marksaeng tamed the ‘beast of Samui’ for the second time in three years after closing with a six-under-par 65 to win by two shots at the US$300,000 Queen’s Cup.

Battle-hardened Prayad overturned a three-shot deficit by firing nine birdies against three bogeys for a winning total of 14-under-par 270 at the Santiburi Samui Country Club, dubbed the ‘beast of Samui’ due to its challenging layout.

Countryman Thanyakon Khrongpha matched Prayad’s efforts on the final day to grab second place while Jazz Janewattananond, also of Thailand, took third on 274 with Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh following rounds of 66 and 68 respectively in the event staged in honour of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit.

Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka carded a 69 to finish two shots back in fifth place on his own while American Paul Peterson (68), Canadian Richard T. Lee (70), Indian SSP Chawrasia (70) and Japanese Akinori Tani (75) shared sixth on 277.

Prayad, who first won the Queen’s Cup in 2013, clinched his ninth Asian Tour title. “To be able to win at 49 years old is just incredible for me. I am very proud of myself,” said Prayad, who took home the winner’s prize purse of US$54,000.

“I started with a bogey but I wasn’t worried as there were plenty of holes to go. I knew Thanyakon was making a fast charge but I didn’t really feel the pressure as he was playing ahead of me … but I thought it doesn’t matter if I lose because I was already sure that the trophy will remain in Thailand,” added Prayad.

Thanyakon was left to rue another missed chance for a maiden victory. The 24-year-old started promisingly with a birdie on four and an eagle on sixth before adding further birdies at 10, 12 and 14. But a bogey on 16 dashed his title hopes.

“I am disappointed, to be honest. I had come close to winning a couple of times last year and I have been wanting to win on the Asian Tour for so long. I played so well all day. I was really going for the win until that bogey on 16,” said Thanyakon, who enjoyed runner-up finishes in Indonesia and on home soil last season.

“It got really windy on the 16th tee and it was difficult to gauge the direction. I hit my tee shot off and I knew I didn’t have a chance anymore. Overall, I am still happy with how I finished. I was six-over at some stage earlier in the tournament and to be able to finish in second place now, I can’t complain,” added the slightly-built Thanyakon.

Jazz capped his best finish on the Asian Tour after producing an impressive back nine 31 highlighted by two eagles (16 and 18) and three birdies against one bogey.

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