Masterful Phachara secures important victory in Thailand

Emerging talent Phachara Khongwatmai, who made an impact on the ASEAN PGA Tour when he won the Singha Hua Hin Open as a 14-year-old schoolboy, finished the year in style with his second professional victory.

Just weeks after booking his ticket for next year’s Open Championship at Royal Troon, the 16-year-old Phachara won the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship.

He finished with a five-under-par 66 and a 22-under-par 262 total for a one-shot victory over countrymen Thongchai Jaidee, world ranked 28, and Chinnarat Phadungsil at Rancho Charnvee Resort and Country Club.

The victory propelled Phachara to fifth place on the final Asian Development Tour Order of Merit, clinching him an Asian Tour card for 2016.

“I was not expecting much when I started the round today. I just told myself to try my best out there and if I can win, it will be great,” he said.

“Thongchai played really well on the back nine and I knew he was catching up when I was on 16. I got a little nervous and I still managed to keep my game in control.”

Phachara was aged just 14 years, two months and 18 days when he beat a strong field in the Singha Hua Hin Open on the ASEAN PGA Tour in July, 2014 to become the youngest ever winner of a professional event.

He has made steady progress since turning professional a few months after his maiden win and underlined his huge potential with victory in the PGM CCM Rahman Putra Championship on the ADT earlier this year and sixth place in the star-studded Thailand Golf Championship, which doubled as an Open Qualifying Series event.