Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, January 26: Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert made history after he clinched the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship with a two-shot victory courtesy of a four-under-par 67 in the final round on Sunday.
Pavit, who held a two-shot advantage coming into Sunday’s action, kept his nerve after trading five birdies against one bogey for a winning total of 23-under-par 261 to stave off the challenge from American John Catlin.
The 30-year-old was ecstatic to win this title in the honour of his idol.
“I’m very happy, because this is the Boonchu (Ruangkit Championship) title. He is a Thai legend who has his own tournament to contribute to our golf. He is my idol since I was young, and it’s an honour to win in his name,” said Pavit, who becomes the first winner on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) this season.
More importantly, he etches his name into the history books by becoming the most successful golfer on the tour with seven wins, surpassing Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang who shared six titles with him previously.
Since claiming his first ADT title in Indonesia back in 2014, Pavit went on to become the Order of Merit champion that year and never looked back.
He has high regard for the ADT for shaping his career.
“I respect the ADT very much, it is a tour that is only getting stronger. I got into the Asian Tour through this tour and will always recognize that,” he said.
Pavit had to keep his composure on a day he described was the “toughest to attack the pins”.
He notched his first birdie on the fifth hole, along with Catlin.
He gained an advantage when the American fumbled with a bogey on the eighth, before both golfers bumped in another birdie on the ninth.
Pavit continued his consistency after the turn with another three birdies, and romped to victory despite a bogey in the final hole.
“Today was the toughest to attack the pins, so I had to play straight to the plan and play a safer game. From my position, there was no need to attack the pins so much because it was windy.”
Pavit also ensured the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship title is won yet again by another Thai golfer, following in the footsteps of Phiphatphong Naewsuk, Danthai Boonma, Namchok Tantipokhakul and Itthipat Buranatanyarat.
Victory also sees him pocketing US$22, 973.42.
Thailand’s Tirawat Kaewsiribandit finished in third (265), while Sweden’s Andreas Gronkvist and Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana finished tied-fourth (268).
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, January 25: Pavit Tangkamolprasert became the third golfer to top the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship leaderboard after the Thai posted a third round eight-under-par 63 for a two-shot advantage on Saturday.
Pavit shot to the summit from his tied-eighth position after bumping in nine birdies for a third round total of 19-under-par 194 to overtake overnight leader John Catlin.
Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana will keep Pavit firmly on his heels after he ended the penultimate round with a 70 to sit tied-second along with American Catlin, who finished with even par 71.
Local season campaigner Thongchai Jaidee is only three shots off Pavit in fourth after managing a 68, while the trio of Arnond Vongvanij, Andreas Gronkvist and Panuphol Pittayarat trails the leader five shots away in tied-fifth.
Pavit is aware how competitive the final round is set to play out on Sunday, but is confident he will thrive under pressure.
“I will go out to play aggressively. My confidence is high, and I am someone who likes the pressure to perform well. You have to shoot low on this course if you want to win.
“My round today (Saturday) was good. I have been driving the well this week and my iron hitting has been good. It’s all about putting well,” said Pavit.
The Bangkok-born started with a birdie, and did not let a bogey on the second hole affect him as he fired home four consecutive birdies from the third hole.
Pavit finished the front nine with six birdies, and went on to notch another three for the slender lead.
If the 30-year-old manages to hold on to his advantage, he will follow in the tradition of becoming yet another Thai name to etch his name on the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship.
Phiphatphong Naewsuk, Danthai Boonma, Namchok Tantipokhakul and Itthipat Buranatanyarat have all triumphed in the past.
Catlin still believes he has an opportunity to change that if he can play well on Sunday.
The American fumbled with a triple bogey on the fourth hole which took some momentum off his game.
“It was unfortunate the ball hit a tree and bounced off into a cluster of tress. Other than that it was okay. There is plenty of chances to make birdies (on Sunday), I just got to keep doing what I’m doing,” said Catlin.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, January 24: John Catlin seized a one-shot advantage at the halfway stage of the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship after the American fired a nine-under-par 62 on Friday.
Catlin, who started the day in tied fourth with a 63, overtook overnight Thai leader Suradit Yongcharoenchai for the lead after posting a blemish free scorecard that included seven birdies and an eagle for a second round total of 17-under-par 125.
Sadom Kaewkanjana of Thailand rose to third courtesy of his brilliant 61, while Thai veteran Thongchai Jaidee joined compatriot Panuphol Pittayarat after firing a 61 to sit tied-fourth along with Weerachai Yuanyang and Malcolm Kokocinski of Sweden.
“My game today was solid from the tee to the greens. I have been hitting a lot of fairways and my wedge game has been good,” said Catlin, who was one of nine golfers to fire an eagle on the par-five 14th hole.
“I have been hitting it close to the pin and a couple of par-5s. If you play your holes right you stand a good chance to land an eagle.”
Catlin, who was victorious in Thailand in November, started off brightly with a birdie, before finding another three to close out the front nine.
The world number 195 managed another three birdies after the turn, and coupled with the eagle, was enough to bump him to top spot.
Suradit, who could only manage a 66 after his impressive 60 in the first round, admitted his game was a little off.
“Everything went right for me yesterday (Thursday), but today I was just not getting enough balls in the hole. I have to work on my putting in the next two rounds. It’s all about keeping focus,” said Suradit.
A total of 50 golfers made the cut at the season opening Asian Development Tour event.
Sweden’s Oscar Zetterwall and Japanese Ryuichi Oiwa, who both won titles on the ADT circuit last year, were among some of the big names to miss the cut.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, January 23: Thailand’s Suradit Yongcharoenchai flexed his iron game in sensational fashion with a 11-under-par 60 for a two-shot lead at the opening round of the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship.
The 21-year-old rising star, who came into this event on the back of a memorable 2019 season, continued that rich vein of form with a clean scorecard that included 11 birdies to seize the advantage in a competitive leaderboard.
Malcolm Kokocinski of Sweden and Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat did well to keep Suradit firmly in sight, trailing two shots away with matching 62s on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) season opener.
Pattaraphol Khanthacha was among the slew of golfers to fire an eagle, as the Thai and American John Catlin trail Suradit by three shots.
“Today I played with a new iron and everything was good. I hit better on the greens, and my putting game was also strong,” said Pattaraphol, adding the Rancho Charnvee Resort and Country Club aided his game.
“This course is nice to play on. It’s a short course and it’s not difficult.”
Suradit won in Taiwan last October before closing out 2019 with a tied second finish in Thailand.
Beginning the season on home turf, he started off in fiery fashion with six birdies in the opening eight holes.
Suradit maintained that same precision after the turn with another five birdies, including consecutive ones in the final two holes.
Kokocinski said “living in his second home” in Thailand helped him cope with the conditions to start well.
“I am very comfortable in Thailand, I’ve been staying here for five years now. Residing here helps me cope with the weather which can reach 30 degrees. Overall I was feeling good all day to be honest,” said the Swede.
Kokocinski had missed the cut four times in his last five events, and is aiming to start the New Year on the right foot.
“I have been practicing a lot during Christmas and over the New Year. So now it’s about trusting my work and looking forward to seeing it pay off.”
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, January 21: Defending champion Itthipat Buranatanyarat will aim to iron out his iron game ahead of the season-opening Boonchu Ruangkit Championship which is set to tee-off on Thursday.
The Thai ended a three-year title drought when he clinched last year’s curtain raiser on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) circuit, courtesy of a two-shot victory.
Itthipat had a decent 2019 with five top-10 finishes which ensued after that, but feels he has to yet to raise his game in 2020.
The 26-year-old has already played in two events this year, missing the cut at the Hong Kong Open before finishing tied-52 at the SMBC Singapore Open.
“My game is okay, not too bad but not too good either. I am definitely looking to play better as defending champion.
“One thing I need to improve on is my iron shots. Everything was so good last year. This year I changed my driver and I should be hitting better,” said Itthipat.
The 2020 ADT season will again aspire to unravel and hone some of the brightest and upcoming talents in the region.
Joohyung Kim, Gavin Green and Chan Shih-chang are just some of the golfers who started their careers on Asian golf’s secondary circuit and went on to win the Asian Tour.
This event also takes on added significance by the fact it was incepted in the honour of Thai legend Boonchu Ruangkit in 2014.
Established Thai golfers like Kiradech Aphibarnat have participated and praised the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship in the past, commending how the Thai legend and Thongchai Jaidee have been good mentors to him.
Inspired by Boonchu, Thongchai went on to host his own tournament in 2015.
Fascinatingly enough, the 50-year-old Thai veteran will among the names lined up at the Rancho Charnvee Resort and Country Club.
“Thongchai is a good addition to this event. He knows the players and understands what the fans want. He will make this a good event,” said Itthipat of Thongchai.
Pannakorn Uthaipas, who won twice on the ADT circuit last year, will be among the favourites to triumph at the curtain raiser.
Japan’s Ryuichi Oiwa, Korea’s Seung Park and Oscar Zetterewall of Sweden will also be expected to contend for the title.
Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points are offered on all ADT events with the winner earning a minimum of six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earn points on a sliding scale.