Sunday September 9, 2012
Thai veteran is the best on Tour with 14th title
By S. RAMAGURU
SHAH ALAM: Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant became the most successful golfer in the Asian Tour when he claimed his 14th title after winning the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters by three strokes at the Kota Permai Golf and Country Club.
The Thai led from the first day and shot a three-under 69 in yesterday’s final round for a winning total of 16-under 272.
He overtakes countryman Thongchai Jaidee, who has 13 titles to his name in the Asian Tour. Malaysia has been a good hunting ground for Thaworn as he won his first Asian Tour title in 1996 at the Sabah Masters. He is also the first golfer to have won twice in the Tour this year, with his other victory coming at the Queens Cup in Thailand in June.
Thaworn was more than happy with the win as “it gives me the confidence to aim for more titles”.
“I have no reason to think that I can win more titles at my age but my aim in every golf tournament is to win. I am happy to have set the record 14th win but that is not something I think about. But, of course, I want to win more titles,” said the 45-year-old veteran, who took home US$60,900.25.
He is already third on the all-time money list in the Asian Tour (since 1995) with a total earning of US$3.2mil and 339 tournaments under his belt.
India’s rising star Ganganjeet Bhullar settled for second place in the RM1.2mil event after signing off with a 66 while Vietnam’s Michael Tran carded a 68 to cap a memorable week by finishing joint third with Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman and Spaniard Javi Colomo.
Siddukur also scored a 66 in the final round while Colomo had a 67.
Holding a three-shot overnight lead, Thaworn put some distance between him and the chasing pack with four birdies in his opening seven holes.
But bogeys on holes nine and 10 saw Bhullar closing the gap to three. Thaworn responded with birdies on the 12th and 13th to eventually win despite a bogey on the 18th.
Bhullar, searching for his third Asian Tour win, tried to apply some pressure on the leader with an outward 31 but a bogey on the 11th put paid to his hopes.
“Thaworn was too far ahead. If we had played in the same group it may have made a difference. But congratulations to him,” said the 24-year-old Bhullar.
Surprise package Tran produced a superb inward 31 after going through his opening nine with two double bogeys and three birdies. He was pleased with his achievement.
“The two doubles really hurt me. It should not have been doubles. When I made the turn, I knew I had no chance of winning. I just said to myself ‘enjoy the last nine holes’ and that’s what I did. I stopped trying to force things to happen,” said the 22-year-old Vietnamese.
For their efforts, Ganganjeet won US$41,688.81 while the three third-placed golfers took home US$19,377.93 each.