Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand: Danthai Boonma beat fellow-Thai Jazz Janewattananond on the fourth play-off hole to win his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) title at the 3.5 million Baht (about US$100,000) Boonchu Ruangkit Championship.
Danthai, a one-time Asian Tour winner, fired a closing six-under-par 65 to end his campaign tied on 15-under-par 269 alongside Jazz (64). The title was decided in extra time on the par-four 18th hole at the Rancho Charnvee Resorts and Country Club.
The leading duo shot matching pars on the first two play-off holes and birdied the third. At the fourth time of asking it was Danthai who prevailed with a par while Jazz could only manage a bogey.
Scotsman James Byrne closed with a 66 to finish one shot back in third place with Rattanon Wannasrichan (68) and Prom Meesawat, who returned with the day’s best score of 62 in the final leg of the 2016 ADT season.
Thai star Thongchai Jaidee missed out on a win to break into the world’s top-50 and qualify for the 2017 Masters tournament as he signed for a 69 to tie in sixth place on 271 alongside countrymen Sutijet Kooratanapisan, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit and Raththee Sirithanakunsak.
Danthai, who fired seven birdies against one bogey, credited a hot putter for winning the ADT event hosted by Thai golfing legend Boonchu Ruangkit for the third time in two years.
He took home the winner’s prize purse of US$17,013 and earned nine Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points.
“This is amazing. It’s unbelievable that I have won. I gained confidence early in the round and I think that helped. I didn’t putt well yesterday so I went back to practice. It was better today. I was able to make more birdies from putting,” said the 20-year-old.
“I stuck to the same gameplan during the play-off. I was a little bit nervous but I managed to pull through. It’s an honour to win Boonchu’s event. He is a player whom everyone, especially the Thai players, look up to,” Danthai added.
Jazz kept his head up despite missing out on his first ADT win. “I tried my best. I didn’t even think I will be in the play-off today so I have no complaints. It’s a good finish for me. I can’t wait to go back home and celebrate Christmas now,” said 21-year-old Jazz.
Thongchai endured a frustrating but took pride in a performance that saw him record an eagle and three birdies against a double-bogey and one bogey.
The 47-year-old Thai still has a chance to tee up in the first Major of 2017 by being inside top-50 on the OWGR when the rankings are published the week before the Masters Tournament, which will take place from April 6-9.
“I made a few mistakes today and I didn’t putt well. I will go back and enjoy some time with my family before preparing for next season. I am looking forward to 2017,” said the three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner.
Johannes Veerman became the second American, following Jonathan Moore in 2011, to lift the ADT Order of Merit trophy.
With Veerman having already secured his card through finishing in the top-62 on the 2016 Asian Tour Order of Merit, the next five leading players on the ADT Merit rankings will earn Asian Tour playing rights in 2017.
The five graduates are Malaysian Gavin Green, Swede Oscar Zetterwall, Thais Itthipat Buranatanyarat and Suradit Yongcharoenchai and American John Michael O’Toole, who finished second to sixth respectively on the final ADT Order of Merit.
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