Thailand’s teenage golf sensation Ratchanon Chantananuwat became the youngest ever winner of a major golf tournament following his victory at the Asian Mixed Cup on Sunday (April 10).
Fifteen year old Ratchanon, nicknamed TK, sealed his win with a birdie on the final day to claim the US$750,000 Trust Golf Asian Mixed Cup.
Speaking after his victory, Ratchanon said: “I am very excited, but I felt a lot of pressure”.
“I have got to be honest, I got pretty lucky, I had hit two or three terrible drives.
“I saw that [Joohyung Kim eagled 18] and was not surprised, he pulls off that stuff all the time. It put pressure on me, but I tried not to look at it too much. I definitely have a lot of people to thank.”
Ratchanon fired a seven-under-par 65 to finish on 20 under to beat Korean Kim Joo-Hyung by two shots with rounds of 63, 70, 70 and 65 at Siam Country Club’s Waterside Course in Chonburi.
The final proved to be one of the most captivating finishes to an Asian Tour event, with several players in contention on the back nine.
However, it was Ratchanon, who pulled ahead of the chasing pack when he birdied 14 and 15 to earn a three shot lead.
At 15 years and 37 days, Ratchanon improved upon the previous best youngest winner mark set by Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa, who was 15 years and eight months when won the Japan Tour’s 2007 Munsingwear Open KSB Cup.
Despite his victory, the rising star, who studies at Shrewsbury International School in Bangkok, has no plans to turn professional just yet.
“This has been my plan all along. I enjoy going to college and learning everything. I have talked to a lot of players, and they have all said go to college, Ratchanon said.
“I got a ton of exams, it’s building up because it’s almost June and I also have the SEA Games coming up. It’s not a big, big tournament, but it’s not just for me anymore, this is for the country, and I don’t want to disappoint..
“I am doing two IGCSE subjects early, biology and economics, so that’s also in May two days before I fly, so I have to do extra schoolwork and extra golf so it’s probably the hardest time for me to balance the two right now. If I want to win, I need to practice more,” he added.