Tamsui, Chinese Taipei: Suradit Yongcharoenchai came of age as he eked out a one-shot victory at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters to claim his maiden Asian Tour title and pocket the biggest prize of his career.
Thai Suradit, who made his Asian Tour debut as a 17-year-old in 2015, closed with a two-under-par 70 at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club.
“I’m an Asian Tour winner now and it feels really good to know that,” said Suradit, who started the final round one shot behind overnight leaders Ajeetesh Sandhu of India and Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines.
“I’ve been working hard all these years and I’m glad I’ve been finally rewarded with this win. I know today’s victory will lead to more opportunities and better things to come for me,” he added.
After signing off with a four-day total of 10-under-par 278, Suradit had an anxious wait of almost 30 minutes as Sandhu and Tabuena completed their rounds before being confirmed as champion.
While Sandhu made a closing birdie, he was left to rue a double-bogey on 16, which effectively ruined his chances of clinching his second Asian Tour title.
Tabuena had the best chance to force a play-off, but limped home with bogeys on the final two holes. Needing a par on 18 to draw level with Suradit, Tabuena found sand with his approach and was unable to advance his ball onto the green. He could do no better than a bogey, meaning a share of second place with Sandhu and Braziliam Adilson da Silva.
While a four-under 68 propelled da Silva up the leaderboard, Sandhu and Tabuena both finished with rounds of 72.
Suradit, meanwhile, was left to savour an overdue win.
“I played without any pressure today. I was very sharp with my short game and I guess that helped. I’m proud how I played today because it’s not easy especially against a quality field,” said the Thai, who bounced back from a double bogey at the fourth hole with three birdies before the turn.