Atthaphon records emotional victory in Mercedes-Benz Masters Indonesia
Jakarta, October 30, 2010: Thailand’s Atthophon Prathummanee ended a frustrating 10 year wait to win his first significant title as a professional when he recorded a surprise victory in the US$80,000 Mercedes-Benz Masters Indonesia today.
The 32 year old beat compatriot Namchok Tantipokhakul on the first play-off hole in a stunning finish to the season ending Tour Chanpionship on the Mercedes-Benz Tour. Filipino Juvic Pagunsan finished joiny fifth to secure the Mercedes-Benz Tour Order of Merit title.
Atthaphon holed an eight foot birdie putt to lift the trophy at Emerala Golf and Country Club after Namchok had mounted an incredible late charge. Playing in the penultimate group Atthaphon birdied the par four final hole for a five-under-par 67 to finish the tournament on 15-under-par 273. It gave him a two stroke lead over Namchok who was playing in the last pairing. Atthaphon celebrated as if he had won but to the amazement of everyone Namchok promptly eagled the par five 17th, where he holed a chip shot from 30 yards, and birdied the last.
When they returned to the 18th a poor tee shot by Namchok left with him a difficult approach which he could only hit to 40 feet. He nearly holed that putt before Atthaphon emotionally sunk his.
It is a remarkable result for Atthaphon who sad he nearly gave uo golf completely after missing the cut in the Tahiland Open on OneAsia in August.
“This ia incredible. It’s like i have been reborn. I stopped playing for a month after the Thailand Open because I was so frustrated,”said Atthaphon.
Earlier in the year the Thai golfer had made a big effort to work on his swing and particular his fitness. However, he felt he was making no progress and was very close to quiting. After taking a month off he decided to give it one last try and his perseverance has paid dividends.
“It has been a very deficult time for me but I really think it is my fitness work that has made the big difference. I am so please the people around me told me to keep going,” added Atthaphon, who made six birdies and dropped one shot.
He lived on Malaysia until his early 20s as his father is Malaysian and since turning professional in 2000 he had colected a handful of small victories on the domestic circuits in Thailand and Malaysia.
Atthaphon claimed US$13,000 for first place and moved into eight place on the final Mercedes-Benz Tour Order of Merit. To his further delight he earns a place in the US$6 million Barclays Singapore Open in November.
Six players from the Merit list won spots in the lucrative Singapore event.
Namchok shot 68 to nearly succesfully defend the Tour Championship, which he won in Vietnam last season. He claimed US$8,900 for second place to finish fourth on the Merit list-which he topped in 2009.
Tahiland’s Wisut Artjanawat ended in sole possession of third place. He also fired a 68 to finish two shots shy of the play-off.
Malaysia Nicholas Fung was a stroke further behind in fourth place after closing with a 71.
The 20 year old from Sabah had a great chance of overtaking Pagunsan at the top of the Merit list as he led for much of the day. However, he had a poor finish with bogeys on 12, 14 and 16. He took second place on the Merit list and finished just US$77 behind Pagunsan.
Pagunsan ended the year with earnings of US$25,450 having played in seven of the 10 events on the Mercedes-Benz Tour.
“It’s great relief to finish number one. It was close but that is why I came here. It takes a lot of concentration to be able to stay in front and I am proud of that,” said Pagunsan, he won the Mercedes-Benz Masters Thailand by seven strokes in June.
The other players to have gained their places in the Barclays Singapore Open as they were not otherwise except were Fung, Wisut, Filipino Jay Bayron and Thailand’s 17 year old wonder kid Panuphol Pittayarat and Thanyakon Khrongpha.
Final fourth round scores:
- 273-Atthaphon Prathummanee (THA) 69 70 67 67
- Namchok Tantipokakul (THA) Thailand 68 69 68 68 (Atthaphon won in sudden-death play-off on first extra hole).
- 275-Wisut Artjanawat (THA) 68 70 69 68
- 276-Nicholas Fung (MAS) 69 66 70 71
- 277-Antonio Lascuna (PHI) 68 65 72 72,
- Juvic Pagunsan (PHI) 64 71 68 74
- 278-Mohd Sukree Othman (MAS) 69 70 67 72
- 279-Artemio Murakami (PHI) 68 73 68 70
- 281-Ferdie Aunzo (PHI) 69 73 68 71
- 283-Mohd Rashid Ismail (MAS) 74 67 69 73
- 284-Rey Pagunsan (PHI) 73 74 68 69,
- Panuphol Pittayarat (THA) 74 70 69 71
- 285-Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA) 74 74 71 66,
- M Sasidaran (MAS) 73 69 75 68,
- Anthony Fernando (PHI) 76 67 72 70,
- Mars Pucay (PHI) 72 71 68 74