Heroic Chapchai Earns Honours

Mon 23 Mar 2009

Heroic Chapchai Earns Honours

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Senotsa, March 23: Thailand?s record-breaking sensation Chapchai Nirat wrote his way into the record books with a masterful display of golf when he powered home with a 32-under-par 256 total to win the Sail Open last weekend.
That commanding 11-stroke victory over second-placed Gaganjeet Bhullar of India and Australia?s Richard Moir after a closing five-under-par 67 at the Classic Golf Resort not only led the world to take notice of this huge Thai talent but has also left his closest rivals in awe of his monumental effort.
This was Chapchai's third title on the Asian Tour, two years after he enjoyed wire-to-wire maiden success at the TCL Classic in China and the Hana Bank Vietnam Masters during the 2007 season.
?My target was just to win and I did not think of the record so there was no pressure during the final birdie putt which helped me break the record,? said Chapchai, who has just two bogeys through the week and an amazing 34 birdies in four rounds.
This was also a win that has generated much buzz. After all, the score from the newly-crowned Sail Open champion is believed to be one of the lowest scores ever recorded for a four-round tournament played on the Asian, European, US PGA, Canadian and Japan Golf Tour.
Chapchai improved on the previous low of 31-under set by South Africa?s Ernie Els at Kapalua, Hawaii while winning the US PGA Tour?s Mercedes Benz Championship in 2003.
The Asian Tour record for the lowest winning total before Chapchai's heroic feat last week was 29-under-par set by Ernie Els at the 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth.
"I am now playing the best golf of my life, and I'm hoping to take this momentum forward and seek a few more title victories this season,? added Chapchai who moves up to eighth place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit with $69,044.44 in accumulated earnings so far.
Moir could do nothing but applaud Chapchai's efforts.
"It's an outstanding effort. I don't have any words, it's unreal," said Moir, who ended his Indian campaign on 267.
?Chapchai?s just played some fabulous golf through the week. He?s been hitting it so well and doesn?t seem to feel any pressure,? said Bhullar, who was hoping for his maiden breakthrough on the Asian Tour but fell short after posting a final 70 for a 267 total.
India?s Shiv Kapur who carded a final round 72 to finish in tied-20th on 275 also had nothing but praises for the Thai.
?His performance this week has been unbelievable. It?s incredible to shoot such low scores for four days in a row. I?m sure even if Tiger Woods was playing here he would not have been able to manage such a low score even though the course was playing easy,? said Kapur.
With accolades raining down on the Thai standout, perhaps what is most befitting is that the heroics of Chapchai took place right at home in Asia.
Divijay Singh of India, who finished in tied-27th place on 276, aptly summed up the general sentiments.
?The fact that the world-record holder comes out of Asia is something that we can be very proud of in this part of the world. His positive attitude sets him apart from the rest. He gives it his all, especially when he?s driving the ball. I have never seen him buckle under pressure,? said Singh.
The Asian Tour will now head to Hua Hin, Thailand for the inaugural Black Mountain Masters this week.
Order of Merit Top-20
Pos      Player Earnings                                   (US$)
1          Anthony KANG   (USA)                    $369,619.30
2          Jyoti RANDHAWA   (IND)                 $246,745.00
3          Thongchai JAIDEE   (THA)                $233,274.44
4          Hiroyuki FUJITA   (JPN)                    $207,142.29
5          Prayad MARKSAENG   (THA)            $136,775.00
6          Adam BLYTH   (AUS)                       $95,777.50
7          James KAMTE   (RSA)                      $90,777.25
8          Chapchai NIRAT   (THA)                   $69,044.44
9          Rhys DAVIES   (WAL)                      $69,030.73
10        NOH Seung-yul   (KOR)                    $61,640.00
11        Simon GRIFFITHS   (ENG)                $57,856.00
12        Juvic PAGUNSAN   (PHI)                   $55,246.94
13        LU Wei-chih   (TPE)                          $54,112.50
14        Tony CAROLAN   (AUS)                    $51,723.83
15        LIANG Wen-chong   (CHN)                $51,600.00
16        Angelo QUE   (PHI)                          $45,837.50
17        Mardan MAMAT   (SIN)                     $45,086.33
18        Gaganjeet BHULLAR   (IND)              $42,274.44
19        Danny CHIA   (MAS)                        $38,920.00
20        Markus BRIER   (AUT)                      $38,789.63
Ends.

About the Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia.  This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Carlsberg (Official Beer), ESPN Star Sports (Official Regional TV Broadcaster), Pin High (Official Apparel Partner), Ricoh (Official Office Solutions Provider), TIME and FORTUNE (Corporate Partner) and Srixon (Official Ball). Sentosa, Singapore?s premier island resort getaway, is the Home of the Asian Tour.