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.
Changhwa, Chinese Taipei, December 29: Overnight leader Donlaphatchai Niyomchon of Thailand was declared the winner of the season-ending US$160,000 Taifong Open after officials cancelled the fourth and final round due to inclement weather.
Donlaphatchai, who carded a bogey-free four-under-par 68 in the third round, completed a wire-to-wire victory to triumph by two shots with a winning total of nine-under-par 207 and claimed his maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) title at the Taifong Golf Club.
The 29-year-old Thai would take home a winner’s prize purse of US$28,000 and propel from 94th to third place on the final 2019 ADT Order of Merit, thereby securing his Asian Tour card for the 2020 season. He also receives six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points following his win.
“I am really happy. It’s a great ending to my season. I have been working very hard on my fitness for the last two years and I’m glad it has paid off. I have waited very long for this win too and I can’t wait to play on the Asian Tour next year,” said Donlaphatchai, who turned professional in 2010 and only claimed his breakthrough win on home soil last year.
Donlaphatchai is the third Thai, following Rattanon Wannasrichan (2015) and Pannakorn Uthaipas (2017), to win the Taifong Open, which was inaugurated in 2014 as the richest event on the ADT schedule.
Chinese Taipei’s Wang Wei-lun and Tseng Tzu-hsuan settled for second place with Japan’s Daisuke Yasumoto and young Thai Atiruj Winaicharoenchai following respective closing rounds of 67, 69, 68 and 69 in the season finale.
Naoki Sekito capped a season’s haul of US$50,942 following his tied-61st place finish at the Taifong Open and became the very first Japanese to win the Order of Merit on the ADT, which was inaugurated in 2010 as a gateway to the Asian Tour.
“I can’t explain how happy I am to win the ADT Order of Merit. It’s the first time a Japanese has won the Order of Merit so I feel really honoured. I am so excited for next year,” said the 22-year-old Naoki, who has notched two wins and five top-10s on the ADT this season.
Thailand’s Pannakorn Uthaipas, Donlaphatchai and Itthipat Buranatanyarat would end the season in second (US$29,794), third (US$29,697) and fourth (US$29,672) place respectively on the final Merit rankings.
With Wang, who has already secured his Asian Tour card by finishing inside top-60 on the 2019 Asian Tour Order of Merit, finishing fifth on the money list, the remaining three Asian Tour cards will be awarded to England’s Steve Lewton, American Trevor Simsby and Seung Park of Korea, placed sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.
The leading seven players, not otherwise exempted, on the final 2019 ADT Order of Merit following the conclusion of the Taifong Open earned their Asian Tour cards for the 2020 season.
The final round, originally scheduled to start at 7.10am local time, was delayed by 30 minutes three times before officials made the decision to cancel the fourth round of the popular event, which is celebrating its sixth consecutive edition on the ADT.
“After deliberation, the organising committee has decided to cancel the final round due to continuous rain which is expected to last throughout the day and conditions were deemed unplayable due to low visibility,” said Jittisak Tamprasert, Asian Tour Director of Rules & Competitions.
“The 2019 Taifong Open has been shortened to 54 holes and overnight leader Donlaphatchai has been declared the winner of the tournament,” added Jittisak.
Changhwa, Chinese Taipei, December 28: Thailand’s Donlaphatchai Niyomchon edged closer to a breakthrough victory on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) when he returned with a bogey-free four-under-par 68 to extend his overnight lead to two at the Taifong Open on Saturday.
The 29-year-old Donlaphatchai, who held the lead since the opening round, highlighted his flawless card with four birdies to stay atop the leaderboard with a three-day total of nine-under-par 207 at the season-ending event, which boasts a prize purse of US$160,000.
His playing partners Atiruj Winaicharoenchai of Thailand and Chinese Taipei’s Tseng Tzu-hsuan posted matching 69s to share second place with Japan’s Daisuke Yasumoto (68) and Wang Wei-lun (67) of Chinese Taipei at the highly acclaimed Taifong Golf Club.
Donlaphatchai took advantage of his accuracy off the tee and his solid iron-play to keep up his chase for one of the seven coveted Asian Tour cards on offer at the event, which is celebrating its sixth consecutive edition on the ADT this week.
“My tee shots were good. I hit 16 greens today. It wasn’t as windy as yesterday. My best hole today was the fifth. I hit the green in two shots and had an eagle putt from about 15 feet,” said Donlaphatchai, who sits in 94th place on the Merit rankings and needs a victory to help him break into top-seven on the final money list.
“I wasn’t thinking too much out there. I just told myself to play shot by shot. It will be the same case tomorrow. I’ll just focus on my game and not think too much,” added Donlaphatchai, who won on his home soil last year for his first professional victory in nine years.
Atiruj lamented a cold putter but took pride in his solid approaches for a commendable round of five birdies against two bogeys. The 19-year-old Thai is playing in his first season on the ADT and making his debut appearance in the Taifong Open this week.
“I played my iron shots really good today, especially on the back nine. Nice to get that three birdies in a row from the 12th. I was able to hit it close. My putting wasn’t as good today. I gave myself a lot of opportunities on the front nine but couldn’t make most of them.
“I am just going to aim for an under-par round tomorrow. A top-five or top-10 finish would be great, said Atiruj, who joined the play-for-pay ranks in 2018 and claimed his first victory on home soil in what was only his second start as a professional.
Local hotshot Wang rekindled his love affair with the Taifong Golf Course when he fired six birdies against a bogey to put himself in the mix for a second ADT title at the event, where he came in runner-up in 2016 and finished top-10 last year.
“I’ve played this course a lot of times. I kind of know how to navigate my way around here. I have had some good results here. Tomorrow I will just try my best but if the weather is not good, I wouldn’t play too aggressively too.”
“Coming into this week, I really have no expectations. I have already achieved my goal of getting my Asian Tour card this year so I’m not thinking too much now. It’s nice to put myself in a good position again for the final round tomorrow,” said the 26-year-old Wang.
Changhwa, Chinese Taipei, December 27: Overnight leader Donlaphatchai Niyomchon of Thailand stayed on track for his maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) title after battling to an even-par 72 to retain his one-shot edge at the halfway stage of the Taifong Open on Friday.
The 29-year-old Thai, who had opened his campaign with a 67, marked his card with four birdies against two bogeys and a double-bogey in blustery conditions to remain atop the leaderboard with a five-under-par 139 total at the highly acclaimed Taifong Golf Club.
Local prospect Tseng Tzu-hsuan and Thai teenager Atiruj Winaicharoenchai returned with matching rounds of 69s to share second place at the US$160,000 event, which is celebrating its sixth consecutive edition on the ADT this week.
Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat battled to a 72 to lurk two shots off the pace in fourth place alongside compatriot Peradol Panyathanasedh (69), Japan’s Daisuke Yasumoto (68), Singapore’s Gregory Foo (71), local veteran Lien Lu-sen (68) and Korea’s Seung Park (71).
“I fought well today. It was windy and cold out there, very different from yesterday. I didn’t putt as well as I did yesterday but I’m happy to finish well with two birdies in my last three holes,” said Donlaphatchai, who sits in 94th place on the Order of Merit.
Playing in only his seventh start on the ADT this year, Donlaphatchai needs a victory at the season finale to give himself a chance at breaking into top-seven on the final rankings and secure his Asian Tour card for 2020.
Tseng, also chasing for his first ADT win, said: “I hit a lot of greens today. That helped a lot. I made 30 putts in total but I think it’s still alright because the greens are really challenging here. The pin positions are difficult too. I am happy with the way I played today.”
Atiruj, who has claimed three top-five finishes on the ADT this season to sit in 24th place on the Order of Merit, kept up his chase for an Asian Tour card by firing five birdies against two bogeys for a commendable 69.
“I hit it close to the pins and I hit a lot of greens. It was windy and the greens are firm. The game’s trending in the right direction. I hit a very good second shot on the par-five 17th to about 10 feet. Missed the eagle chance there but it’s still a good hole,” said the 19-year-old, who is making his debut appearance in the Taifong Open this week.
A total of 63 players, including one local amateur, survived the halfway cut set at four-over-par 148 in the popular event, which was inaugurated as the richest event on the ADT in 2014.
Defending champion Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei and ADT Order of Merit leader Naoki Sekito of Japan made the cut right on the mark after registering identical rounds of 74 at the 2019 ADT season finale.
Changhwa, Chinese Taipei, December 26: Thailand’s Donlaphatchai Niyomchon rode a hot putter to sign for an opening five-under-par 67 at the Taifong Open, grabbing a one-shot lead at the season-ending US$160,000 Asian Development Tour (ADT) event on Thursday.
The 29-year-old Thai, who had made only a single cut in his last five starts at the popular event, exceeded his expectations when he returned with an eagle and seven birdies against four bogeys to take his place atop the leaderboard at the Taifong Golf Club.
Buoyed by the comforts of playing on his home course, David Shen of Chinese Taipei holed out for a closing eagle to share second place with tournament debutant Wolmer Murillo of Venezuela on matching 68s in the 2019 ADT season finale.
Thai hotshot Itthipat Buranatanyarat, who sits in third place on the ADT Order of Merit, kept up his chase for the Order of Merit crown by posting a 69 to trail by two shots in fourth place at the event, which is celebrating its sixth consecutive edition on the ADT this week.
“I putted really well today. I think that was what made the difference today. It’s the best round I have ever shot on this course. I am really happy,” said Donlaphatchai, who needed only 25 putts around the greens today.
Shen, who had holed out from 89 yards for an eagle-three on the 18th hole, is playing in his sixth appearance at the Taifong Open this week. He enjoyed a tied-13th place finish in the popular event last year.
“I was able to hit it close today. I played my irons well. Didn’t get lucky on the first three holes but started rolling putts in for birdies on fourth and fifth. Happy to finish with an eagle on the last too,” said Shen, who hails from Changhwa county.
“I putted well and I was accurate with my iron shots. I think I hit like 15 greens today. It was quite windy out there. I started off thinking I should play conservatively today but changed my strategy on a few holes and decided to hit my driver off the tee. That worked out well.
“I was mainly focusing on hitting my irons good today. This is where I practiced for the last eight years. This is my home course and I guess that gave me some advantage. Hitting it good off the tee is the key to play well here,” Shen added.
Murillo, who did not play a practice round this week, battled through a calf injury to return with a round of six birdies against two bogeys. He sits in 30th place on the money list and needs a strong finish to break inside top-seven and secure his Asian Tour card for 2020.
“It’s my first time playing here. It was quite a walk out there but I felt good. I had a calf injury from gym work last week but overall, it was a steady round although I made a couple of mistakes. It’s an interesting golf course,” said the 38-year-old Venezuelan.
“I have been working hard for the last three rounds so I’m very happy with a good round today. It was nice to see on the score card that we have two par-fives to close the round. I made a few key putts, a few long putts like the one on 18th which is probably like 25 feet,” added Murillo, a one-time winner on the ADT.
Play was suspended at 5.45pm local time due to fading light. A total of three players will resume their round at 7.30am on Friday with the second round scheduled to commence at 6.55am as per original plan.
Changhwa, Chinese Taipei, December 25: Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang hopes to make his third title defence at the Taifong Open a successful one when he steps up to the tee at the highly acclaimed Taifong Golf Club on Thursday.
Chan clinched his first professional victory at the Taifong Open when it was held on the local circuit in 2010. He won the tournament again when it came on board the Asian Development Tour (ADT) schedule for the first time in 2014 and was victorious for the third time last year.
The 33-year-old Chan, a two-time winner on the Asian Tour, will be bidding for a record seventh victory on the ADT when he gets his title defence underway at the US$160,000 event, which has been the richest tournament on the ADT schedule since its inception five years ago.
“This is where I claimed my professional breakthrough,” said Chan. “I always remember the hard work that I have to put in before claiming my first victory here nine years ago. I feel motivated to play well whenever I come back here.
“I haven’t had much success playing overseas this year but I’m happy to be back playing at home. Winning the event last year gave me a great boost of confidence. I have a lot of good memories here. It’s my lucky winning ground. The greens are looking good this year.
“This will be my seventh straight tournament. I am feeling a little bit worn out to be honest but I’m still looking forward to finishing the year well with a good result this week. I still want to win the tournament and I hope to keep the trophy on home soil,” Chan added.
The race to top the 2019 ADT Order of Merit and finish inside top-seven on the Merit rankings will also reach its climax at the season-ending Taifong Open this week.
With a winner’s prize purse of US$28,000 up for grabs, the stakes are high at the Taifong Golf Club as a total of 120 players from 13 countries will be vying to earn the seven coveted Asian Tour cards on offer for the 2020 season.
Young Korean talent Seung Park, who won the OB Golf Invitational in what was only his second start on the ADT in May, will need a solid performance to break into top-seven on the final Merit rankings and secure his 2020 Asian Tour card.
The 23-year-old Park, who has also won three titles on his domestic secondary circuit this year, sits in eighth place with a season’s haul of US$20,031, thanks to one win and three top-10s on the ADT this season.
“I have had a good year so far. I have learnt a lot from playing on the ADT this year and I have gained a lot of precious experiences as well.
“This week is important for me as I will need a good result to break into top-seven on the Merit rankings. I won’t think too much about that. I will try my best,” said Park, who has also clinched three titles on his domestic circuit’s development Tour this year.
Order of Merit leader Naoki Sekito, who has bagged two wins and five top-10 finishes this season, will take aim at becoming the first ever Japanese player to lift the Order of Merit crown on the ADT, which was launched as a gateway to the Asian Tour in 2010.
He leads the money list by more than US$20,000 with his season’s haul of US$50,278 and is all but guaranteed of his place as Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat, American Trevor Simsby and compatriot Ryuichi Oiwa, placed third, fifth and sixth respectively, all have a mathematical chance to chase him down with a win this week.
Other notable players include Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang, Lu Wei-chih, Hung Chien-yao and Wang Wei-lun, who have all finished inside top-61 on the final 2019 Asian Tour Order of Merit last week to secure their playing rights on the region’s premier Tour in 2020.
The Taifong Open, which is celebrating its sixth edition on the ADT this week, returns with great significance as it will be the season finale for the first time on the region’s secondary circuit, bringing the 2019 season to a memorable end.