Apart from the main prize, there was another reason to be amongst the leading players
at the recent Thailand Golf Championship held at Amarta Spring Country Club.
The Championship was part of The Open Qualifying Series (OQS) where four places were offered to the leading four players who have not already qualified for the 2016 Open Championship. Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai, at the tender age of 14, became the youngest golfer ever to win a pro event when he went 13 under at the ASEAN PGA Tour’s 2013 Singha Hua Hin Open.
Now a 16 year old, he got more than what he had bargained for when he qualified for The Open and was also handed a lifeline for his Asian Tour card after finishing sixth at the Thailand Golf Championship. It was definitely a week to savour when he outshone some of the tournament’s leading lights including Major winners Martin Kaymer (T7) and Bubba Watson (T15) by closing with a six-under-par 66 at the Amata Spring Country Club. “I played without much expectations and I guess that was the key to playing so well today.
I’m now overwhelmed with happiness as I get to play in The Open next year,” said Phachara, who also holds the honour of being the youngest winner on the Asian Development Tour in March at the age of 15. Welshman Jamie Donaldson fired a sublime seven-under 65 to overhaul third-round leader Frenchman Clement Sordet for a three shot victory, while Lee Westwood closed with a 67 to snatch a tie for second. Donaldson trailed by two overnight, but he soon vaulted back into the lead when he birdied the first three holes, and further gains at the seventh and eighth put daylight between himself and his playing partners.
Donaldson’s first win of 2015 takes him back into the world’s top 50. Sergio Garcia and Byeong-Hun An were a further four strokes adrift after closing rounds of 69 and 70 respectively. Prize Money: US$1 million (winner’s purse: US$180,000) Venue: Amata Spring Country Club From December 10th – December 13th.