Hua Hin, Thailand: Kiradech Aphibarnrat cruised to a three-shot victory when he closed with a second straight four-under-par 68 to win the inaugural Thongchai Jaidee Foundation event, hosted by his countryman and mentor.
Kiradech, who led by four shots heading into the final round, fired five birdies against a bogey for a winning total of 24-under-par 264 in the four million baht (about US$111,808) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.
Local veteran Prayad Marksaeng put up a strong fight before settling for second place following a 67 while hometown hero Prom Meesawat and American Berry Henson shared third place on 269 after signing for rounds of 68 and 69 respectively at Black Mountain Golf Club.
Tournament host Thongchai returned a 67 to tie in fifth place with compatriot Chapchai Nirat, who capped his best round of the week with a 66 at the event which was the 20th leg of the ADT schedule this season.
“I played some good golf. My game’s in a good shape coming to this week and that has given me a lot of confidence to win the tournament,” said 26-year-old Kiradech, who has won twice in Europe this season.
“This win means a lot to me. Thongchai is one of the best golfers in Thailand and he is also a great mentor and inspiration to me. I have always wanted to emulate his success so I am really happy to win the first event hosted by Thongchai himself,” added Kiradech, who took home the winner’s prize of US$19,368 and received six Official World Golf Ranking points.
Thongchai, who holds an unprecedented three Asian Tour Order of Merit crowns, said: “I am very happy with how the event went. It’s a milestone for me to be able to host my own tournament. I would like to thank all players, officials and sponsors for their support. Without them, the tournament will not be a success,” said the 45-year-old Thai.