Khon Kaen, Thailand: Golf prodigy Phachara Khongwatmai continued his remarkable rise in the game by winning the US$100,000 Singha Esan Open on the ASEAN PGA Tour.
The 16-year-old Thai beat seasoned compatriot Chapchai Nirat by two strokes at Singha Park Golf Club after they both fired final rounds of four-under-par 68.
Thais Panuphol Pittayarat (71) and Thanyakon Khronpha (75) tied for third six behind the winner.
It was on the ASEAN PGA Tour in 2013 that Phachara made world headlines when he became the youngest winner of a professional golf tournament after he triumphed in the Singha Hua Hin Open aged 14 years.
An amateur at the time, he soon turned professional and in the same year underlined his talent with success in the Thai PGA Classic in Bangkok.
Victory in Esan is now his sixth win as he also claimed the Chang-Nakhon Nayok Championship in Thailand this year.
Phachara started the day one shot behind leader Thanyakon and took control of the tournament when he birdied four in a row from the fourth. Chapchai, who led after the first and second rounds, pushed him all the way to the end but was unable to catch his young opponent.
Phachara finished with a four-round total of 13-under-par.
His amazing run of results also includes a sixth place finish at last year’s Thailand Golf Championship in December which helped him secure a prized spot at The Open Championship in July.
Thai Thaworn Wiratchant, the defending champion, carded a 74 to tie for 13th.
Australian Anthony Murdaca carded a 70 to lead the way for the graduates from the recent OneAsia Qualifying School, finishing joint eighth.
This year’s event was of special significance as it welcomed the graduates as part of a new association with OneAsia and the four ASEAN PGA events in Thailand.
The Singha Esan Open is one of four tournaments jointly sanctioned by the ASEAN PGA Tour with the All Thailand Golf Tour. The others are the Singha Hua Hin Open, Singha Pattaya Open and Singha Phuket Open.