Thammanoon Triumphs in Tianjin

Sun 22 Aug 2004

Thammanoon Triumphs in Tianjin


Tianjin, China, August 22: Thammanoon Srirot completed his start-to-finish victory in the US$200,000 Tianjin TEDA Open Presented by Rolls-Royce today after shooting a sparkling six-under-par 65 in the final round.


The Thai, the winner when this event was last staged here in 1999, held off compatriot Boonchu Ruangkit, who shot a 64, by one stroke with a winning total of 19-under-par 265 at Tianjin Warner International Golf Club.


Unheralded Chinese Taipei's Lu Wei-chih shot the season's lowest 18-hole score on the Asian Tour with a stunning 61 to finish third, four shots behind the champion, while compatriot Chen Yuan-chi finished fourth on 271. Charlie Wi of Korea and Scotsman Simon Yates shared fifth place.


"I'm happy to win my first tournament in five years," said Thammanoon, the first wire-to-wire winner this season. "When I came back here this week and had my practice round, I picked up a lot of confidence and felt I could win here again.


"Boonchu put on some pressure on the back nine and I saw that he was chasing hard. I had to control my game and I'm glad I hung on for the win."


Thammanoon, who won US$32,300, maintained control of the tournament with a superb front nine where he birdied the second, third, seventh and eighth holes. However, he said that it was a par save on the first hole which settled his nerves as Wi had drawn level straight away with an opening birdie.


"I had an eight footer for par on the first and it was good to knock that in. It settled me down into the round," said the Thai, whose victory was his fifth in Asia but his first since 1999.


The 48-year-old Boonchu, this year's Thai Open winner, was two back at the start of the day but got into contention with an outward 31. Further birdies on 10, 12 and 13 saw him draw level with Thammanoon briefly before a second bogey of the day on the 14th hole, no thanks to a wayward drive, dropped him out of the lead.


The Thai veteran said: "My caddie told me to use a three wood on 14 but I opted for the driver as I wanted to be aggressive and aim for birdie. But I pushed my tee shot wide into the rough and then missed a four-footer for par. That cost me the tournament.


"Thammanoon was too good today. Every time I got close, he responded with birdies. However, I'm happy to finish second with weekend rounds of 64s."


The outstanding round of the day came from the 26-year-old Lu, who shattered the course record by three shots with pins tucked in tough locations. It was by far his best performance on the Asian Tour since turning professional in 2001 and he picked up a cheque of US$12,400 which was more than double of his career earnings of US$5,000 prior to this week.


"This is a big surprise," said Lu. "Everything worked out perfectly. I hit my driver and irons really well and almost all the putts were from inside six feet. This is my first 61 in my career. I'm very happy, especially when I've won only US$500 from two previous starts this year."


Hao Yuan was the highest placed golfer from China in tied 22nd position after he signed out with a final round 70 for a 280 total.


Leading final round scores

265 - Thammanoon Srirot (THA) 64-67-69-65

266 - Boonchu Ruangkit (THA) 69-69-64-64

269 - Lu Wei-chih (TPE) 69-71-68-61

271 - Chen Yuan-chi (TPE) 67-68-71-65

272 - Simon Yates (SCO) 65-73-66-68, Charlie Wi (KOR) 67-66-68-71

273 - Alistair Presnell (AUS) 69-67-71-66, Chung Joon (KOR) 64-68-71-70

274 - Anura Rohana (SRI) 66-70-68-70

275 - Park No-seok (KOR) 69-68-72-66, Chawalit Plaphol (THA) 69-68-69-69, Wang Ter-chang (TPE) 70-67-69-69, Richard Moir (AUS) 70-69-67-69

276 - Amandeep Johl (IND) 68-70-71-67, Anthony Kang (USA) 67-70-71-68, Lu Wen-teh (TPE) 69-70-69-68

277 - Scott Barr (AUS) 71-69-71-66, Chan Yih-shin (TPE) 65-74-71-67

278 - Jason Dawes (AUS) 67-70-72-69, Andrew Pitts (USA) 68-66-71-73

279 - Gerald Rosales (PHI) 65-68-69-77

280 - Gerry Norquist (USA) 69-66-75-70, Hao Yuan (CHN) 70-68-72-70, Robert Jacobson (USA) 70-71-68-71, Terry Pilkadaris (AUS) 68-74-67-71, Ewan Porter (AUS) 70-68-70-72, Taimur Hussain (PAK) 69-68-71-72, Lee Sung-man (KOR) 70-68-69-73