Former world No 29 Kiradech Aphibarnrat crafted a crucial ending eagle to narrowly edge out the in-form Phachara Kongwatmai for his second Singha Thailand Masters title at the Santiburi Country Club in Chiang Rai on Sunday.
The 2013 champion, at 17 under, shot a brilliant 243-yard second shot which landed only a foot away from the pin on the par-5 18th hole with 2018 winner and red-hot Phachara leading the clubhouse at 18 under.
He sent home the championship eagle putt to sign off with a 68 and a four-day total of 19 under-par-269 to beat his younger rival by a shot. The Thai golf star also stemmed his long title drought since winning the Richard Mille Brunei Championships (Asian Development Tour) in March 2018.
“That was one of the best second shots in my career,” said the 32-year-old Kiradech. “I just wanted to hit over the pond and go for a birdie,” (which would give him a play-off chance with Phachara) added the now six-time All Thailand Golf Tour victor.
“I’m really proud of myself to produce a great result even when I’m not fully prepared for this tournament. I was in good control playing under a tough situation. The younger players really fought hard and exerted pressure on me out there,” said Kiradech, who just recovered from Lasik surgery and hardly had time to practice coming to the event.
The victory serves as a key morale boost for the four-time European Tour winner who, despite earning a PGA Tour card, plans to focus on the European Tour next season hoping to regain his confidence.
“I don’t think I’m so successful on the PGA as the standard is very high. I really need a big win to elevate my confidence. I realize that I should have a better chance at winning by playing on the European Tour,” added Kiradech who took home the Bt750,000 winning cheque from the Sunday’s win.
Red-hot Phachara, who won three titles this year including his maiden Asian Tour triumph in Phuket earlier this month, finished a shot behind for lone second after a final 67 on 18 under-par-270. He earned Bt475,000 as runner-up.
Teen prodigy Ratchanon Chanthananuwat won the Best Amateur title after shooting a fourth round 66 and a total 17 under-par-271 for joint third along with Varanyu Rattanaphibookij.
Sadom Kaewkanjana, who landed at lone sixth following the round low 64 and on 273 finished as the 2021 All Thailand Golf Tour Order of Merit winner with his total earnings of Bt2,542,100.
Denwit David Boriboonsub, tied 11th with a total 277, won the ATGT Rookie of the Year title. He is a one-time ATGT winner (Singha Chiang Mai Open in November) and runner-up in the Laguna Phuket Championship, an Asian Tour event, in early December.