Pattaya, Thailand: Weerawish Narkprachar upstaged some of his country’s leading juniors to emerge triumphant in the 12th edition of the Faldo Series Thailand Championship (North).
Weerawish, who turned 13 in February, had the distinction of bettering par in both rounds in the second leg of the 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia season at Plutaluang Navy Golf Course, a 30-minute drive south of Pattaya.
Undaunted by a tightly-packed leaderboard featuring four players from the top-25 Thais on The R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking, the bespectacled Weerawish followed up an opening 71 with an accomplished closing three-under-par 69.
His 36-hole aggregate of four-under 140 gave him a one-stroke success from Nawin Sakulsirasoonthorn with Worathon Zeng and Thongpipat Rattanayanon a further shot behind in joint third. With a 143 total, Nipitphon Thiangtrong also broke par but had to settle for fifth place overall – testament to the high standard of play.
Weerawish can now look forward to taking part in the 12th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Vietnam, in March, 2018.
There, he will have the opportunity to emulate the feat of reigning champion Napat ‘Toy’ Paramacharoenroj, who became only the second Thai winner of the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, following in the footsteps Nakarin Ratanakul, who triumphed at Mission Hills China in the inaugural event in 2007.
Joining Weerawish at Laguna Lăng Cô next year will be Nawin (Boys’ Under-21 winner), Thongpipat (Boys’ Under-18 winner), Naramol Nuchsira (Girls’ Under-21 winner) and Panchalika Arpamongkol (Girls’ Under-16 winner).
Six-time Major champion Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “As we saw at Laguna Lăng Cô a couple of months ago, there are many wonderfully talented young Thai players coming through. With his victory in Vietnam, Napat has set a high standard for his compatriots to follow. I look forward to watching Weerawish attempt to keep the Grand Final title in Thailand.”
Weerawish was a deserving winner at the Plutaluang Royal Thai Navy Golf Course, an old-style layout that is set in a wooded valley.
Birdies at the second and eighth in the final round saw him turn in two-under 34 and keep pace with the leaders. Despite a bogey at 13, his only dropped shot of the day, Weerawish leapt to the top of the standings with back-to-back birdies at 15 and 16.
Pars at 17 and 18 proved sufficient for him to maintain his narrow advantage and claim the biggest win of his fledgling career.
The 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia season is supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation. The International Junior Golf Academy is a partner of the Faldo Series.
As well as two events in China, India and Thailand, championships are being staged in Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.