Phuket, Thailand: Varanyu Rattanaphiboonkij savoured his first professional victory in front of his family after closing with an even-par 70 to win by six shots in the final round of the Singha Laguna Phuket Open.
The 21-year-old Thai displayed great form all week as he traded two birdies against as many bogeys on Sunday to secure his wire-to-wire victory on 18-under-par 262 at Laguna Golf Phuket, a Golf Course Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
Compatriot Pawin Ingkhapradit returned a 66 but was unable to overhaul Varanyu. He took second place on his own at the ฿2 million (about US$64,000) event co-sanctioned by the Asian Development Tour (ADT) and the All Thailand Golf Tour.
South African Mathiam Keyser signed for a 69 to take third place, marking his best finish on the ADT this season. Nitithorn Thippong of Thailand, who started the final round in second, struggled with nerves and dropped two places after carding a 71 while Sweden’s Oscar Zetterwall (67) and Thai Worrasorn Suwanpanang (68) shared fifth place on 272.
Playing in the final group for the first time in his professional career, Varanyu was surprised by his father and sister who flew down from his hometown of Phetchaburi, Thailand, to watch him play.
“It feels like a dream! I have worked so hard all year and to finally get a win, and in Thailand, is amazing. My mother has been following me all four days and I didn’t know my father was going to come. It makes me so happy that they got to see my first win,” said Varanyu who also had his brother on his bag this week.
Varanyu dropped a shot on the first hole but recovered with a birdie at the third. Nine pars followed before he bogeyed 13 after an errant drive. Following a birdie on 14 he parred the final four holes to ease home.
“After I made bogey on hole one, my brother told me to stay calm and not speed up my tempo. I was nervous but having my whole family there to support me helped. I just stuck to the gameplan of playing like I did the past three days,” added Varanyu.
After this win, Varanyu took up membership on the ADT and is currently 10th on the merit rankings. He took home the winner’s cheque for US$9,450 and collected six Official World Golf Ranking points.
The leading five players on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn playing rights on the Asian Tour for the 2019 season.