Young Thai prevails

KUCHING: Thailand’s Jakraphan Premsirigorn can now boast of having a Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour title after conquering the PGM MNRB Sarawak Masters by one stroke.

The 21-year-old Bangkok resident shot a fourth and final round 66 for a 16-under 272 total that left Malaysia’s top golfer Nicholas Fung in second spot in the tour’s showdown at Sarawak Golf Club here yesterday.

Nicholas matched Jakraphan’s last day six-under but came up just shy, as the former’s compatriot R Nachimuthu, who led the tournament after each of the first three rounds, managed only a 69 to finish third on 274.

American Dodge Kemmer was another who posted a closing 66 and finished on 277 in sole fourth, while Australia’s Darren Tan (68) and Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert (69) placed a joint fifth, a stroke further back.

Philip Matsson (68) and Pasavee Lertvilai (68) — both of Thailand — along with Filipinos Phi Charles Hong (70) and Rufino Bayron (72), together with Japan’s Masaru Takahashi (70) were tied for seventh on 280, while Mitsuhiko Hashizume (67) of Japan and France’s Lionel Weber (69) were joint 12th on seven-under 281.

In a tournament marked by a one-stroke penalty for slow play in the third round, Jakraphan emerged a deserved winner, which left him brimming with joy.

Speaking after being presented with the trophy and a cheque worth RM35,000, the rising Thai star remarked: “This is my first victory in the two years that I have gone professional.

“I would like to thank the PGM Tour and the Asian Development Tour (which co-sanctioned the event) for making it possible. It was a great tournament and I’m just so happy that it ended like this.”

Jakraphan said his next assignment would be the Thailand PGA championship in two weeks.

For Nachimuthu, who came agonisingly close to sealing a maiden win this season, he said his putting had let him down.

“It just did not happen for me.

“Still, I am pleased with the way I have been hitting the ball because I have been striking it solidly — it’s a pity that my putting was not up to it.”

Mitsuhiko, who won the PGM Tour’s LADA Langkawi title earlier this season, said he too was happy with how he played, but lamented a “few putts that did not drop”.

“I think if I had sunk a few more, things would have been different,” said the 29-year-old.

The next event on the PGM Tour’s schedule is the three-day Satellite Tournament at KGS beginning today, followed by PGM Pahang Classic at Lanjut Golden Beach and Golf Resort, Kuala Rompin on Oct 17-20.

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