Chawalit cruises to wire-to-wire victory

SINGAPORE: Chawalit Plaphol cruised to a wire-to-wire victory yesterday in the Mercedes-Benz Masters Singapore at Laguna National Golf and Country Club.

The sweet-swinging Thai fired a final round two-under-par 70 to win by five shots from his teenage compatriot Panuphol Pittayarat and Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing.

Panuphol carded a 69 and at the age of 17 showed that he is one of the most exciting young golfers in the region.

Chih Bing, who was also second in this event in 2008 and fifth last year, shot a 66.

It is Chawalit’s second victory of the season on the Mercedes-Benz Tour as he makes a fine comeback following nearly two years of poor form.

“I really have been working hard on my game. I have spent a lot of time on the driving range working things out. Today was tough as I had quite a big lead and in the hot weather it is really hard to keep concentrating,” said Chawalit, who had a six shot lead at the start of the day.

The 35-year-old finished with a four round total of 17-under-par 271.

Teenage sensation Panuphol got to within four strokes of Chawalit at one point but will have to wait a bit longer before he claims his first Mercedes-Benz Tour title.

“I finished second in the Thailand PGA last year but I think this has to be my best ever result. I am very tired but very happy,” said Panuphol.

Chih Bing did well to finish joint runner up having opened with a 75. His final two rounds of 65 and 66 allowed him to leap up the leaderboard.

“I like the way I came back after the poor start. It is a very encouraging sign that I hope will lead to a good second half of the year,” said Chih Bing. — AFP

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