#QueensCup rewind: Terrific Thaworn rules

Sun 14 Jun 2015

#QueensCup rewind: Terrific Thaworn rules

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Koh Samui, Thailand, June 15: The US$300,000 Queen's Cup will make a welcome return to the Santiburi Samui Country Club for its seventh consecutive season this week. We take a look back at last year's showpiece.
Terrific Thaworn rules in Samui with record 17th Tour victory
The Asian Tour will make its welcome return to the beautiful holiday isle of Samui in June and as we look ahead in anticipation for this event, we also revisit the scene of Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant’s famous triumph.
With a record 17th Asian Tour victory at the Queen’s Cup added to his impressive list of accolades, the 48-year-old simply refuses to quietly fade into the sunset.
Through his one-shot come-from-behind victory at the Santiburi Samui Country Club, Thaworn showed a side of his personality which is rarely seen and underlined golf’s uniqueness as a gentlemen’s game.
Professional sport can often be cut throat but the Thai champion proved it wasn’t necessarily the case.
Poom Saksansin, a 21-year-old rookie who was making his Asian Tour debut appearance, surprised the stars by leading for three rounds with his nerveless approach.
But with the last 18 holes in sight, nerves crept in and the young Thai wavered.
Thaworn took full advantage by clawing from five strokes back at the start of the final day but he wasn’t heartless in his march to victory.
When Poom faltered, he pulled the youngster aside and encouraged him that it actually provided a thrilling finish on the 72nd hole which Thaworn needed to birdie for his second win in Samui in three years.
Poom, who dropped three bogeys in his opening six holes, said: “There was pressure, I couldn’t control my ball flight. It (ball) was like a bird, it was going everywhere. Thaworn was nice to tell me to calm down. He was trying to help me but I still couldn’t hit and putt.”
While the newcomer was denied a dream victory, Thaworn took his customary place in the prize presentation ceremony as he hoisted the Queen’s Cup  and banked the winner’s cheque of US$54,000 which pushed his career earnings beyond US$4 million.
“It is meaningful to me, whether it’s a small or big tournament. At every tournament, I am always trying my best. There was pressure as I wanted to go out there and play some good golf,” said a delighted Thaworn, who signed off with a five-under-par 66 and a winning total of 12-under-par 272.
The decorated Thai remained modest of his latest achievement which further cemented his stature on the region’s premier Tour. “The putt for birdie (on 18), I felt I could make it. It was hard to say where I was in control. Siddikur (Rahman) played well and Poom was always there. I think I got lucky,” he said.
Poom, who was part of Thailand’s amateur team which won the Southeast Asian Games gold medal, showed he was a rising star, not only for his golf but for his demeanor and composure.
“The most important shot is the shot you’re playing, that’s all. I’ve been hitting it good all week, trying to hit as good as I can,” he said after the third round.
“Although I didn’t win, I am still happy.”
Bangladeshi star Siddikur was kicking himself after letting victory slip from his grasp. He was tied with Thaworn and Poom playing the 72nd hole but made a closing bogey after fluffing a shot from the rough.
Everything was bad. It was very disappointing, especially on 18. I still had a chance to get a birdie but unfortunately I got a bogey.
“The ball didn’t want to go in. I had a chance but it didn’t happen. Thaworn deserved it as he made some big putts,” said Siddikur, who settled for his fourth top-10 in Samui.
Ends.