Thai amateur stars turned in a scintillating performance to earn a long-awaited breakthrough victory at the Nomura Cup in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Kammalas Namuangruk, Sadom Kaewkanjana, Atiruj Winaicharoenchai and Kosuke Hamamoto teamed up to sweep victories in both individual and team events at the 28th edition of the Asia-Pacific Golf Team Championship at the par-72 Sungai Long Golf and Country Club yesterday.
Thailand have long been a dominant force in amateur golf in Southeast Asia, with a long history of success at the SEA Games, but yesterday's victory in Malaysia added a new chapter to the country's amateur profile at the continental level.
The Thai quartet cruised to a massive 14-stroke victory, upstaging two powerhouse nations -- nine-time champions Japan and 10-time winners Australia -- in the process.
They combined for a 56-under 808 overall, dethroning defending champions Japan, who had to settle for the runners-up spot after finishing on 44-under 280.
Australia came third on 39-under 825, while New Zealand finished fourth on 832, followed by South Korea (840), Taiwan (841) and China (842) respectively.
Kammalas completed a personal double after landing the individual title, edging Japanese rival Kazuya Osawa by a single stroke.
Kammalas shot a two-under-par 70 to finish on 18-under 270 overall, while Osawa was unable to catch his Thai opponent despite a slightly better final-round effort of a three-under 69.
Kammalas' teammate Sadom came third on 16-under 272 after an impressive 67. Atiruj was a stroke further back in fourth place, while Malaysian hopeful Afif Fathi was fifth on 274.
Thai-Japanese Hamamoto finished ninth on 12-under 276 after he concluded with a three-under 69.
For three of the team members -- Kammalas, Sadom and Hamamoto -- the Nomura Cup win yesterday added to their successful year which saw the trio help Thailand win an individual gold medal (Hamamoto) and a silver medal in the team event at the SEA Games in Malaysia in August.
Sadom and Kammalas also upstaged seasoned professionals when the duo had a 1-2 finish at the Singha Pattaya Open last month.
The biennial tournament, which was initiated in 1963, attracted top amateur golfers from 23 nations including Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Nepal, Fiji, Guam, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan and Thailand.