PETALING JAYA: Chapchai Nirat ended his five-year title drought on the Asian Tour in dramatic fashion when he roared to victory in a first-hole playoff at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters.
The Thai, who held a two-stroke lead at the 16th hole, carded a final round three-under 68 on Sunday to tie for first place at 10-under 274 with Antonio Lascuna of the Philippines. The Filipino stormed into contention on the final day with an impressive eight-under 63 to force the playoff at the Seri Selangor Golf Club.
After seeing Lascuna bogey the par-four first playoff hole, Chapchai, affectionately known as King Kong, held his nerve to sink a four-foot putt to clinch his first title since the 2009 Sail Open in India.
“I didn’t think this day would happen. I didn’t think I would have a chance to win again ... I never thought that it would have happened here,” said a clearly delighted yet relieved Chapchai.
“I felt a lot of pressure coming in. When I saw Antonio miss the putt (in the playoff), I knew I had a chance. It took the pressure off me a bit and I’m delighted to hole the putt.
“After winning the Sail Open, I struggled for two years with injuries and bad form. But I knew if I kept practising hard, the win would come eventually.”
The win saw Chapchai pocket US$72,670 (RM234,000) to jump 28 rungs to sixth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit rankings.
Malaysia’s best finishing pair Danny Chia (even par) and Shaaban Hussin (four-under) were tied 24th with Finland’s Jonas Granberg, Chan Shin-chang of Taiwan and Thai Sutijet Kooratanapisan who all finished with a two-over 286.
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