Gunn winning on and off the golf course

Published on September 24, 2020

Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul says two wins in quick succession on the Thailand PGA Tour recently were the result of a new positive mindset, as well as a little inspiration from his new paternal responsibilities.

He won the Singha-SAT Hua Hin Championship in July for his first victory in five years and then two weeks later claimed the Singha-SAT Nakhon Nayok Classic.

“I really needed a win as it had been four or five years,” said Gunn.

“So the mind set on the last day was to play my own game and just keep thinking about winning and just keep myself in the zone. Be relaxed all the time.”

He beat countryman Prom Meesawat by six strokes at Royal Hua Hin Golf Course before overcoming compatriot Nirun Sae-Ueng in a sudden-death play-off in the Nakhon Nayok Classic – played at Royal Hills Golf Resort & Spa.

“I was pretty nervous because I was playing with Prom at his home course, and he pretty much knew all the nooks and crannies of the course,” said Gunn.

“I had a five shot lead on the last day. All of Proms shots were pin high and close but I was fortunate he didn’t make any putts. But I didn’t trust myself at all because I was close to victory.

“My last victory five years ago, I finished with a bogey, or a double, and then a playoff. So it wasn’t until the last, when I had a six shot lead, that I felt confident I can take the trophy home.”

At Royal Hills, he trailed Prayad Marksaeng by three shots on the back nine and felt the legendary Thai star would run away with the tournament.

“I thought maybe finishing third would not be too bad,” said Gunn.

However, Prayad had a hiccup on 16 where he made a double before dropping a shot on 17.

“I had a 20 footer on 18 for birdie to make a play-off. But I never had a good experience when I needed to hole an important putt. So I didn’t take it that seriously and thought I would miss it. And I misread the putt but somehow I made it,” added the Thai.

Niran found water with his second when they returned to 18 for the play-off leaving Gunn in the drivers’ seat.

“I told myself just hit the green otherwise it is going to be a long day. I hit it on the green and made my birdie putt so it was all over. It was a breakthrough for me as when I lost a lead in the past I never made a comeback. So this was the first time for me. So I guess if there is a next time I can believe there is a chance I can win again,” said Gunn.

His wife Koyy gave birth to their daughter, Vera, in February and he feels that has also helped to put a better complexion on things.

He says: “It has made a big difference to my life. I don’t really have any time for myself now. All my time goes to her. I keep myself busy, doing laundry, cooking her food, doing kids club, swimming class. So it is a new experience for me. I have always been pretty introvert, just happy staying home, but now I am going out and seeing the world.

“I don’t get to practice so much but it does take my mind off the golf game a bit. If I get a chance I can check my swing in a mirror. It has really helped to relax myself a bit.”

Gunn was in brilliant form last year on the Japan Golf Tour Organization – he finished 21st on the Money List with 10 top-10s – and made an outstanding start on the Asian Tour this year: he was third in the Hong Kong Open and reached ninth place on the Order of Merit before the Tour was put on hold by the coronavirus pandemic.

“My mentality before was I never really appreciated the small things in my life, but now I do and I feel very happy. And all the happy little things add up so when I am on the course I feel very relaxed. Just in my own comfort zone. To perform well, you have to find your own comfort zone, to perform at your best.”