Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei: Thai Prom Meesawat showed his battling spirit by rallying with a birdie on the third play-off hole to defeat Japan’s Naoki Sekito and clinch the Butra Heidelberg Cement Brunei Championships.
Prom, a two-time Asian Tour winner, who was playing on a sponsor’s invitation, started his final day four shot off the lead.
He hauled himself into contention by firing seven birdies before dropping his only shot of the day on hole 16 at the US$75,000 Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.
Prom’s four-day total of 20-under-par 260 was enough for him to force his way into a play-off with Sekito, who stunned the field with a 61 in regulation play at The Empire Hotel and Country Club.
On the first play-off hole held on 18 both players settled for pars. Sekito had an opportunity to win on the second extra hole but narrowly missed a 10-footer and settled for par with Prom.
The play-off was then moved to the ninth hole where Prom triumphed after striking a solid approach to eight-feet and rolling home a decisive birdie putt.
“I had a birdie on hole 15 and was three shots clear of the field. I thought it was good enough, but I didn’t expect to make that bogey on hole 16 and for Naoki to birdie the last two holes.
“But I am glad to have won on the third play-off hole. It was a great fight. That approach shot on the ninth hole was probably the best iron shot of the week for me,” said Prom.
With good friend Kiradech Aphibarnrat withdrawing from the event due to a knee injury, Prom was pleased to have won the title on his behalf. He took home a cheque for US$13,125 and will receive a minimum of six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points.
“It always feels great winning a golf tournament, especially playing on an invite this week it’s an honour to win this event. Kiradech won last year and it’s a shame he didn’t get to play all four rounds.
“I told him after the second round that I would try and defend the title for him and I am glad I was able to keep to my word,” added Prom, who is nicknamed ‘Big Dolphin’ due to his burly physique and because he hails from the coast town of Hua Hin.
Despite missing out on back-to-back ADT victories since making his breakthrough last week, 21-year-old Sekito took pride in his flawless round highlighted by nine birdies, which marked his personal-best round since joining the play-for-pay ranks in 2017.
“That (61) is my best score and I am very happy to have broken my personal-best record. I did my best. I have no regrets this week and it is looking like a good season for me. I hope to continue this momentum and take one of the seven spots on the ADT Order of Merit,” said Sekito, who moved up to second place on the ADT Order of Merit.
The Organising Committee of the Butra Heidelberg Cement Brunei Championships announced a charity drive through its ‘Birdies for Charity’ programme. A total of 947 birdies were recorded after four rounds and through the generous contributions of its donors, the programme received a total of B$11,000.
All pledges will go directly to the Dana Pengiran Musa Mahkota Al-Muhtadee Billah for Orphans and the Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam.