Thaworn Hits Macau Jackpot

Sun 13 Sep 2009

Thaworn Hits Macau Jackpot

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Macau, September 13: Thailand?s Thaworn Wiratchant continued his rich vein of form to claim his 11th Asian Tour victory with a commanding six-shot triumph at the Macau Open on Sunday.
Thaworn, who finished 11th in Switzerland last week, charged home with a closing three-under-par for a four-day total of 15-under-par 269 to pip India?s rising star Gaganjeet Bhullar at the US$500,000 full field Asian Tour event.
Bhullar, winner of the Indonesia President Invitational this season, powered his way to a final round 66 at the Macau Golf and Country Club to finish in second place on 275.
Asian Tour rookie Matthew Griffin of Australia surged up the leaderboard with an eagle on the second hole to take a share of third place alongside South African Keith Horne on 278.
Chinese Taipei's Lin Wen-hong and Yoshinobu Tsukada of Japan ended their campaign in fifth position on 279 while China?s Zhang Lian-wei and Australia?s Rick Kulacz were among the seven players bunched in tied seventh on 280.
Thaworn?s victory left him one title short of equaling compatriot?s Thongchai Jaidee?s record of 12 career wins on the Asian Tour but the 42-year-old is confident of surpassing his fellow countryman?s record.
?I try to win every tournament but the thought of overcoming Thongchai?s victories on the Asian Tour is not my main objective as I only strive to do my best. I will continue to play on the Asian Tour and if I am fit enough, I think breaking his record would not be a problem,? said Thaworn who bagged US$79,250 for his win.
Thaworn had an anxious two-hour gap when he finished his third round early this morning but that did not disrupt his concentration as he resumed his title charge by posting five birdies against two bogeys en route to his emphatic win.
?I didn?t take my five-stroke advantage for granted because on this course anything can happen. The other players were also very close and I was playing it safe until the back nine where I was more confident of winning,? said Thaworn who was Asia?s number one in 2005.
Meanwhile Bhullar opened his round brilliantly with a birdie and eagle followed by another birdie on his opening three holes. However, with Thaworn in fine form, the Indian tipped his hat to the Thai for his fantastic victory.
?I had a good trot and that gave me a lot of boost. I was having a look at Thaworn?s score but he was way in front of me and I didn?t think I could catch him. He is our Asian hero and I look up to him for his achievement on the Asian Tour,? said Bhullar.
Griffin, who earned his Tour card after finishing top 10 at the Asian Tour Qualifying School, fired a sparkling 65 courtesy of an eagle on the second hole which he sank after his three-wood approach from 250 yards landed within 10 feet off the pin.
?It is fantastic to be up there on the leaderboard after struggling this year. It is important to get off to a good start and the eagle really got me going. Hopefully this top-10 finish will get me going for the remaining rounds,? said Griffin who has missed four cuts in his last seven events.
Horne rued a cold putter and was disappointed not to finish in second position after mixing his card with three birdies and two bogeys for a 70.
?I am happy with my third place finish but I am a little frustrated with my game. I couldn?t get things going the last two days as the putter wasn?t working,? said Horne
?It was a little frustrating coming in as I was trying to finish second. Thaworn got off to a good start and I didn?t so that really made the difference,? added the South African.
Tournament marquee name Jean Van De Velde of France finished in tied 25th place after carding a 76 for a four-day total of 283.
Ends
Leading final round scores
269 - Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 67-68-66-68
275 - Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 71-69-69-66
278 - Matthew Griffin (AUS) 72-72-69-65, Keith Horne (RSA) 67-71-70-70
279 - Yoshinobu Tsukada (JPN) 72-70-71-66, Lin Wen-hong (TPE) 68-67-71-73
280 - Scott Barr (AUS) 74-70-68-68, Rick Kulacz (AUS) 76-67-69-68, Lin Wen-tang (TPE) 68-71-72-69, Taichiro Kiyota (JPN) 70-71-70-69, Zhang Lian-wei (CHN) 73-68-70-69, Tetsuji Hiratsuka (JPN) 70-70-71-69, Andrew Dodt (AUS) 67-67-73-73
281 - Chris Rodgers (ENG) 70-68-75-68, Tim Stewart (AUS) 70-74-69-68, Rafael Ponce (ECU) 73-69-70-69, Marcus Both (AUS) 71-73-67-70, Wu Ashun (CHN) 69-68-73-71
Lam Chih Bing (SIN) 70-69-70-72
282 - Antonio Lascuna (PHI) 68-72-72-70
About the Macau Open
The Macau Open is celebrating its 12th anniversary this year. Supported by the Macau Sports Development Board, the tournament will be staged at the Macau Golf and Country Club from September 10-13. Former champions include Lee Westwood and Simon Dyson of England, Colin Montgomerie of Scotland, Kane Webber of Australia, two-time winner Zhang Lian Wei of China and last year's winner David Gleeson of Australia. The US$500,000 Macau Open is the 15th leg of this season's Asian Tour Schedule with Srixon (Official Ball) and Holiday Inn (Official Hotel) as its sponsors. The Asian Tour is the official regional sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia.
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 ESPN Star Sports (Official Regional TV Broadcaster), Pin High (Official Apparel Partner), Ricoh (Official Office Solutions Provider) and Srixon (Official Ball). Sentosa, Singapore?s premier island resort getaway, is the Home of the Asian Tour.