Prayad continues to defy father time

Mon 17 Jun 2013

Prayad continues to defy father time

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Kuala Lumpur, June 17: Age is certainly not a barrier to success on the Asian Tour with Prayad Marksaeng becoming the latest star to prove that old is indeed gold.
The 47-year-old Thai maestro picked up his seventh Asian Tour title at the Queen’s Cup on home soil on Sunday, banishing the ghost of Samui and a six-year winless run on the region’s premier Tour which is celebrating its milestone 10th season in 2013.
Prayad, who has agonisingly missed out on victory at the Queen’s Cup over the past four years, flew on eagles’ wings to coast to a three-shot triumph over countryman Arnond Vongvanij, with promising Japanese Daisuke Kataoka coming in third.
Injuries have curtailed the smooth-swinging Prayad’s career in recent times but now that he is fully fit again, the Thai is showing he can still compete at the highest level.
Since the start of this year, he has also won three titles on home soil but the success at the Queen’s Cup, which is sponsored by Bangkok Airways and Sports Authority of Thailand, showed that Prayad was back in the big leagues.
“Yes, it has been almost six years since I last won on the Asian Tour. I’m really happy with this win. I’ve been struggling with injuries especially with my elbow but things have started to improve this year,” said Prayad, who became the fourth oldest winner at the age of 47 years and 137 days old.
“I’m already looking at the Asian Tour schedule for the second half of the year. It (Winning) is a great boost to my career especially winning the Queen’s Cup. It’s special as it is an honour to win for the Queen. I’m going to savour this victory for a while but once the euphoria goes away, I’ll be back ready to compete and contend for more titles on the Asian Tour again.”
The victory also erased the bitter memories of losing at the inaugural Chiangmai Golf Classic presented by PTT in March. Prayad led by five shots going into the last round but faded badly with a 74 to finish third. In Samui, he fired two eagles in his final round to coast to victory.
His winner’s cheque of US$56,142 has seen pushed him up to eight place on the latest Asian Tour’s Order of Merit with a season’s collection of US$113,864.
Countryman Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who finished tied 33rd over the weekend, continues to lead the Merit race with US$664,620.
Arnond, the reigning King’s Cup champion, failed in his bid to complete what would have been a grand double in his country but believes the runner-up outing was just the right tonic to set him up nicely for the rest of the season.
“I want to keep working on my game and get stronger,” said Arnond. “The second half of the year is going to get really busy and as long as I get my good form going, it’ll be good,” added the slightly built Thai, who moved up to 16th place on the Order of Merit with US$81,627.
Japan’s Daisuke Kataoka settled for his second straight top-three finish on the Asian Tour as he moved to 19th spot on the Order of Merit.
“I was hoping to win as I came into this week feeling really confident. But I’ll try again. Two third-placed finishes in Indonesia and Thailand are still okay. I enjoy playing on the Asian Tour and I’m confident that my win will come if I continue to believe in myself,” he said.
Asian Tour Order of Merit – Top-20
Pos Player Order of Merit (US$)
1. Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 664,620
2. Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 269,066
3. Scott HEND (AUS) 235,848
4. LIANG Wen-chong (CHN) 185,383
5. Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 160,172
6. BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR) 149,554
7. Wade ORMSBY (AUS) 134,297
8. Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 113,864
9. KIM Gi-whan (KOR) 110,141
10. Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 97,241
11. SIDDIKUR (BAN) 97,223
12. Shiv KAPUR (IND) 94,841
13. Berry HENSON (USA) 90,910
14. Joonas GRANBERG (FIN) 86,437
15. Bryce EASTON (RSA) 86,159
16. Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 81,627
17. Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 80,005
18. KIM Hyung-sung (KOR) 76,024
19. Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN) 75397
20. Jason KNUTZON (USA) 67,112
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. 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 Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), BlackBerry (Official Communications Partner), Canon (Official Imaging Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf