Gunn surges home to win title

Hua Hin: Thai rising star Gunn Charoenkul yesterday shot a closing 68 to win the Singha Panasonic Hua Hin Open, his third title of the season and fourth overall on the Asean PGA Tour.

  • Published: 21/07/2014 at 06:04 AM
  • Newspaper section: news

Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul.

He triumphed by a stroke after a ding-dong battle with his more experienced countryman Chapchai Nirat, who led by a shot after the third day and put further daylight between himself and Gunn early in the final round at Royal Hua Hin Golf Course.

Gunn, who won the season-opening Singha Esan Open and the PGM-Asean PGA Melaka Championship, fought back gamely and three birdies in a row from the 13th hole coupled with an awesome display of clutch putting saw him seal victory on 15-under-par total 273.

“It feels good, it feels great — I am glad it is all over,” said Gunn, who has honed his game at a three-hole practice facility that his father built for him at his home in Khao Lak, southern Thailand.

“It was a tough day. I started badly — lost my temper and lost my swing tempo. I just tried to get my tempo back and a lot of that comes from routine.

“There were some great players [near the top of the leaderboard] — Chapchai, Prayad Marksaeng and Thaworn Wiratchant — who are all very experienced and I knew they were going to put pressure on me.

“They all missed some putts and I had only 24 putts. That was the key to the win.”

Thaworn, a multiple winner in Asia, closed with a 67 to share third place with the promising Poom Saksansin, who shot 68 to continue a fine rookie season that has included a victory at the Singha Masters.

Defending champion Phachara Khongwatmai, who became the youngest winner of a professional golf tournament when he triumphed in the Singha Panasonic Hua Hin Open last year aged just 14, carded a final-round 69 for joint seventh spot.

Gunn, whose first win on the Asean PGA Tour came at the 2012 Singha Esan Open, mixed seven birdies with three bogeys in a hard-charging round that saw him playing catch up for much of the day.

Chapchai, already a winner on the All Thailand Golf Tour this season at the Singha Championship, found himself three strokes ahead after just three holes and was two in front at the turn but Gunn kept battling to stay in touch.

A birdie at the 10th and three more from the 13th put Gunn in the driver’s seat and he sealed the win with a great two-putt par from 60 feet at the 18th.

“I tried to get it close — I did not try to hole it — and I managed to do that,” he said.

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