CHIANG RAI – Thai Teenage sensation Pachara Kwongwatmai won a gripping battle of the generations against six-time champion Prayad Marksaeng to capture the BT 5 million Singha Masters at the Santiburi Country Club in Chiang Rai on Sunday.
The 18-year-old, who started his final round with a three-shot lead, struggled all day until sparking a late comeback with an eagle at the 15th and eventually carding a one-under 71 and forcing his 54-year-old opponent into a playoff as they both finished at 18-under-par-270.
Pachara then reeled off another eagle on the 18th hole play-off to stun the veteran and heavy favorite.
“I was trying to be patient as I didn’t find my form. I didn’t expect to shoot an eagle for a playoff. It was an exciting final and I will keep some of my great shots in my memory,” said Phachara, who signed off with a 71.
The triumph was a redemption of sorts for the Hat-Yai-based youngster, who stumbled to a double-bogey at the final hole 12 months ago to hand Panuphol Pittayarat victory. This time, Panuphol finished tied for third with the American Johannes Veerman after both finished on 17-under 271.
“I learned a lot from last year. I didn’t put myself under pressure to win this year but in the end I won the trophy and I’m happy,” added Phachara, who said he ahd not been daunted by having to in a playoff the legend Prayad, winner of 19 All Thailand Golf Tour titles.
“I tried to focus with my game, not thinking that I was playing with Prayad. I was just lucky to make two eagle putts,” added Phachara who ended his two-year title drought of title to claim the winner’s cheque for Bt750,0000.
The rising star will next return to the European Tour where his goal is to retain his card this year, his next event being in Spain next month.
Prayad who just won his first title this year a few weeks ago in Lumphun said: “I already gave my all out there but Phachara is too good. He deserves to win.”
On the women’s side, Kamonwan Luamsri from Khon Kaen shot an even-par 72 to beat Trichat Cheenglab by a stroke for her second career title.
The 23-year-old law student from Thammasat University fired a total five-over-par-293.