Karachi, Pakistan: Tirawat Kaewsiribandit fired a flawless closing three-under-par 69 to win the US$300,000 UMA CNS Open Golf Championship.
The 28-year-old Thai enjoyed a bogey-free round that was highlighted by birdies on the third, eighth and 11th. He signed for a 12-under-par 276 total to win his maiden Asian Tour title by one shot at the historic Karachi Golf Club.
Tirawat turned his season around in victorious fashion after being plagued by a lower back injury for the majority of the year.
Compatriots Jakraphan Premsirigorn and Namchok Tantipokhakul shared second place on 277 after carding rounds of 72 and 73 respectively.
Tirawat said: “I’m really happy about my victory, my first on the Asian Tour. I’ve been having problems with my lower back for the majority of this year. But I started to train up my strength and condition and it has worked for me. I am playing without injury and without pain, and that has made me enjoy my golf a lot more.
“I felt the pressure going into the final few holes as the leader. However, playing alongside my countrymen helped me relax a little bit, as we could all speak the same language.
“Now that I’ve won, I’ll enter the remaining tournament this year with more confidence.”
Jakraphan was neck-and-neck with Tirawat for much of the final day. However, a double-bogey on 13 seemed to have killed off his chances, but he battled back with a birdie on 16. Another birdie on 18 would have forced a play-off, but he could only manage a par.
Namchok, the 54-hole leader, made a double-bogey on hole six, but kept pace with his flight mates. He was still in contention following a birdie on 13, but could not find that extra gear in the remainder of his round.
Muhammad Munir of Pakistan got the crowd cheering when he posted four consecutive birdies after the turn. But his victory hopes disappeared with a bogey on 15. He eventually settled for fourth.