The Thailand Open has rejoined the Asian Tour after an eight-year hiatus. Thailand’s national championship, which dates back to 1965, was held this year at Bangkok’s Thai Country Club from May 18-21 with a prize fund of US $300,000.
The 2016 Asian Tour number one Australia’s Scott Hend and Thai stars Kiradech Aphibarnrat and local favorite Thongchai Jaidee headlined the event. Talented youngsters Jazz Janewattananond, Poom Saksansin, Thitiphun Chuayprakong, Natipong Srithong and Danthai Boonma, who are all Asian Tour champions also featured along with David Lipsky of the United States, Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand and Jeev Milkha Singh, Shiv Kapur, Gaganjeet Bhullar of India and Gavin Green of Malaysia.
However young Thai Rattanon Wannasrichan completed a sensational wire-to-wire victory at the Thailand Open, closing with a four-under-par 67 to win by two shots for his maiden Asian Tour success. The baby-faced 21-year-old, who held a one-shot lead heading into the final round, kept his composure to return with a round of five birdies against one bogey and a winning total of 21-under-par 263 at the Thai Country Club. “I am very happy to win my first Asian Tour title at my own National Open!
I played solid again today and just focused shot by shot. Nothing different from the last three rounds; I waited five years (since turning professional in 2012) for this win. I am really proud of myself. I finally proved that I can do it. “, said Wannasrichan. Despite stumbling with a bogey on the last, Rattanon managed to hold off the combined challenges from Indian duo Shiv Kapur and Gaganjeet Bhullar, who settled for second place. “The Thailand Open is one of the oldest national championships in Asia and Asian Tour CEO Josh Burack said in a statement “we are excited to welcome the prestigious tournament back into our fold.” The Thailand Open was last sanctioned by the Asian Tour in 2009, when it was won by India’s Jyoti Randhawa.