Thailand's Suwannarut wins China Open

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 6, 2023
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Thailand's Sarit Suwannarut shot an eight-under-par 64 final round to win the China Open at Hidden Grace Golf Club on Sunday by six shots to claim his second title on the Asian Tour.

A fine four-round aggregate of 19-under-par 269, saw him finish comfortably ahead of second placed Taichi Kho from the Hong Kong SAR, who sensationally chipped in for an eagle on the 18th for a 65, and Chinese youngster Chen Guxin, the third-round leader in with a 73.

Spain's Eugenio Chacarra, the leader at the halfway mark, fired a 68 to finish in outright fourth, a further shot back, in the 1.5-million US dollar event being played on the Asian Tour for the first time since 2019, and part of the International Series.

Sarit's nickname is 'Safe' but he was far from that today as he attacked the course from the start with a new-found confidence that had been missing for the whole season.

The 25-year-old started the day three back from Chen. However, he quickly caught his Chinese partner with three birdies on the trot from the second and overtook him when he made another birdie on seven - a pivotal hole as Chen made a double. It meant Sarit had a three-shot lead.

By the turn he was two in front before a birdie on the 12th gave him a commanding four-shot buffer as Chen bogeyed the hole. He then cruised home for the win unchallenged with birdies on 14, and the final two holes.

After winning the BNI Indonesian Masters at the end of last year, also an International Series event, Sarit was expected to achieve further success, but he has struggled this season, recording just one top 10 in the Mandiri Indonesia Open and missing six cuts in 13 starts before this week.

Yesterday he credited a week's holiday in Japan with his family before coming here and deciding to go back to using the putter he used when he triumphed in Indonesia for his return to form.

"To be honest I just wanted to come here and have fun," said Sarit.

"I wanted to find something this week because it has been a tough year. It has been a really tough year. I have missed a lot of cuts. I didn't finish good at all but ... it happens. My iron game and my putting were the problem, especially the putting. My putting this week was lights out, it's insane. Feel like I saw every line, saw how to putt, saw everything."

He becomes the second Thai to win the China Open, after Prayad Marksaeng in 1996.

The big-hitting golfer also leapt from 85th to 12th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

Chen will be grateful to finish jointly second-place as he bids to keep his Asian Tour card for next year. He's now moved into 40th place on the Asian Tour OOM from 115th place, with four events remaining. The top-65 retain their playing privileges.

"I have a peaceful mind as 73 was my aim to be honest," said Chen, who won twice on the Asian Development Tour last year and calls himself 'Mr 54' as he has struggled to finish off tournament's on the final day.

"I think it adds to my experience. The putting of Sarit was really extraordinary, he can hole everything. He played very well. By contrast, I just play badly, but I need to learn how to play well in the final round."

Ding Wenyi, also from China, had to settle for joint seventh place. Although he made eagle and birdie, a triple bogey on the 16th smashed any hopes he had of a higher finish.

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