Home hero Panuphol claims special Thailand Open victory

Sun 10 Jun 2018

Home hero Panuphol claims special Thailand Open victory


Chachoengsao, Bangkok, June 10: Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand claimed a special victory at the Thailand Open after closing with an even-par 70 at the US$300,000 Asian Tour event on Sunday. 

The bubbly Thai became the fifth local player to lift the prestigious Thailand Open trophy after holding off the strong challenge from countryman Poom Saksansin at the Thai Country Club.

The 25-year-old Panuphol battled nerves heading into the final six holes where he bogeyed 13 and 18, and almost found the water hazard with his third shot on the par-five 17th hole. He held on to victory after signing for a 13-under-par 267 total.   

The baby-faced Poom, who represented Asia at the EurAsia Cup earlier this year, overtook the lead early in the round but struggled to maintain his title charge following bogeys on 10 and 12.

He ended his campaign on a 70 to settle for second place, one shot back of the champion Panuphol while 20-year-old Sarit Suwannarut enjoyed his best result on the Asian Tour after securing third place.

The victory was especially sweet for Panuphol as he won the revered Thailand Open trophy on his home course. The victory also marked a return to form for the Thai who came into the tournament following four straight missed cuts.

With the win Panuphol also took the early lead in the 2018/2019 Panasonic Swing race.

Did you know?

  • Panuphol is the fifth Thai player to win his National Open since 1965. This is the second time in the tournament’s history that the Thailand Open has welcomed back-to-back Thai champions since 1991 (Suthep Meesawat) and 1992 (Boonchu Ruangkit).
  • This is Panuphol’s second Asian Tour title. He won last year’s Indonesia Open in October. His second victory comes after playing in 11 Asian Tour events.
  • He wobbled early in the round when he bogeyed the sixth hole to relinquish his overnight lead but recovered nicely with a pair of birdies on holes eight and nine. He said those birdies boosted his confidence.
  • He earned 14 Official World Golf Ranking points with the win and moved the 12th place on the Habitat for Humanity Standings after earning US$54,000 for his win.
  • He is also the second Thai player to win on the Asian Tour in 2018 after Kiradech Aphibarnrat’s victory at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth in February.
  • Panuphol is playing in his eighth season on the Asian Tour. He came close to winning many times before winning his first title last year. He said the victory ‘helped him learn how to win a tournament.’
  • Poom continued to struggle with his driver. He has changed six drivers this year and admits that he has no confidence when pulling out the big stick.
  • He enjoyed a hot putting streak after holing eight consecutive one putts from the first hole. He ended the day with 25 putts which matched his total putts in round one and round two.
  • Poom has never won an event where he trailed heading into the last round. His last two Asian Tour victories came when he held the lead in the penultimate round.
  • The hole-in-one prize of 10,000 Dragon Coins went unclaimed as no players aced the 16th hole at the Thai Country Club. Dragon, the world's entertainment token which offers the best digital payment solutions, will enter its first foray into golf sponsorship at the Thailand Open.

Player quotes:

Panuphol Pittayara (Tha) – Final Round 70 (even), Total 267 (-13)

This means everything to me. This is my national trophy, my home course and this is where I practice. I’m very, very happy. I felt a bit of nerves coming down the stretch but I kept it cool and patient. I tried not to let the nerves affect my thinking, my game or feeling. I think I kept things under control pretty well.

This win is a dream come true. It is always every Thai golfers dream to win their National Open. It took a little bit longer for me to sleep last night but I managed to sleep!

Poom (Saksansin) didn’t make it easy for me out there. He is one of the best golfers from Thailand and Asia. He beat Paul Casey in a match play (at EurAsia Cup) and this is like me playing match play against him. I didn’t push myself but he gave me a hard time.

My two birdies on eight and nine gave me the pump and a lot of confidence. That told me that I could take this trophy home. That win at the Indonesia Open taught me how to win a golf tournament. Today I tried to go back to what I felt in Indonesia and tried to do the same. It came out great.

I learned a lot on the Asian Tour. The Tour has taught me so many stuff about golf and life. I didn’t graduate high school but the Asian Tour is one of my teachers. I have some status on the Japan Golf Tour but I will always play on the Asian Tour because it is my home tour.

Poom Saksansin (Tha) – Final Round 70 (even), Total 268 (-12)

I hit it very bad but my putting saved me. I’m not swinging it bad but it is more my confidence. I’m still scared to hit driver and I know that I need to fix it and gain more confidence. Honestly, I’m a little bit disappointed I didn’t win. I’m proud because it is my best result on the Asian Tour but I will continue to work on my game.

I know I was on top the leaderboard at one point but I had no confidence and I wasn’t playing good. I was putting good and I thought I had a good opportunity to force a play-off on the last hole. I read the wrong line and I missed my birdie chance. I finished second place so that’s okay because I keep my Asian Tour card.

Sarit Suwannarut (Tha) – Final Round 70 (even), Total 269 (-11)

It is a pretty awesome week. It was tough on the last day but I’m proud of my good finish. I felt a lot of pressure today but I handled it pretty well. It will be easier the next time I’m in the same position. It was a tough front nine and I didn’t make a putt at all.

Scores after round 4 of the Thailand Open being played at the par 70, 7060 Yards Thai CC course (am - denotes amateur):

267 - Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 67-64-66-70.

268 - Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 66-66-66-70.

269 - Sarit SUWANNARUT (THA) 65-65-69-70.

270 - Natipong SRITHONG (THA) 64-69-70-67.

271 - Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 68-68-64-71.

272 - Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 65-69-70-68, David GLEESON (AUS) 67-69-68-68, Scott VINCENT (ZIM) 69-67-67-69, Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 66-69-67-70, Scott HEND (AUS) 69-66-66-71.

273 - Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 67-69-68-69, Kurt KITAYAMA (USA) 67-67-66-73.

274 - Pawin INGKHAPRADIT (THA) 70-67-71-66, Chikkarangappa S. (IND) 65-70-70-69, Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 69-66-69-70, Jake HIGGINBOTTOM (AUS) 67-69-68-70.

275 - Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 69-67-69-70.

276 - Charng-Tai SUDSOM (THA) 68-69-70-69, Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 71-69-66-70, Jack HARRISON (ENG) 69-69-68-70, Rory HIE (INA) 67-72-65-72, Doyeob MUN (KOR) 70-69-65-72, Miguel CARBALLO (ARG) 67-71-66-72.

277 - Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 67-71-70-69, Ben CAMPBELL (NZL) 68-70-69-70, Jarin TODD (USA) 68-71-66-72.

About Panasonic Swing

The Panasonic Swing was initiated by the Asian Tour and the Panasonic Corporation to reinforce Panasonic’s support for professional golf across the region when it came on board as the Asian Tour’s Official Consumer Electronics in May 2017.

The Panasonic Swing ranking is based on an aggregate point ranking earned by players at selected tournaments in Asia. The top-three finishers in the Panasonic Swing final ranking will earn US$70,000, US$50,000 and US$30,000 respectively via a bonus pool reward scheme.

The inaugural Panasonic Swing, launched at the 2017 Thailand Open before concluding at the 2018 Panasonic Open Japan, saw India’s Shiv Kapur winning the Panasonic Swing with total points of 2922.90. His compatriot Rahil Gangjee came in second with 2805.00 while Rattanon Wannasrichan of Thailand finished third on 2380.50.

The second edition of the Panasonic Swing is set to kick off again at the 2018 Thailand Open, which will be staged at the Thai Country Club from June 7 to 10. It will feature tournaments in India, Malaysia and Indonesia before concluding at the Panasonic Open Japan in 2019.

About Thailand Open

The prestigious Thailand Open returned on the Asian Tour schedule in 2017 after an eight-year lapse. The Thailand Open, which was inaugurated in 1965, is one of the oldest National Opens in Asia.

Rattanon Wannasrichan became the fourth Thai player to win the Thailand Open when he claimed his breakthrough last year. The three other Thais are Suthep Meesawat (1991), Boonchu Ruangkit (1992 and 2004) and Prayad Marksaeng (2013).

Sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Thailand Golf Association, the Thailand Open will return to the Thai Country Club for its second straight edition on the Asian Tour from June 7 to 10.

The Thailand Open is proudly sponsored by Panasonic, Singha, Dragon, Novotel Bangkok Bangna, Srixon and Ricoh.

About 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 Rolex (Official Timekeeper), Panasonic (Official Consumer Electronics), Habitat for Humanity (Official Sustainable Development Partner), ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), Titleist and FootJoy (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Partner), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official International Media Partner), Wall Street Journal (Official International Media Partner) and Sentosa in Singapore which is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.