The up-and-coming Chanettee Wannasaen kept her cool under a highly humid condition to celebrate her maiden title in the Bt2.5 million “SAT-TWT Open” Road to World Ranking at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club in Chonburi on Friday.
The 17-year-old from Chiang Mai produced a solid final round 68 without a bogey to win on 11 under-par-205, beating the previous circuit champion Arpichaya Yubol by a stroke at the par 72 6,328 yard landscape.
After making an easy championship putt, the teenager felt relieved to finally win a title after settling at second four times including a loss to the in-form Arpichaya in the last TWT Tour in Cham Am two months ago.
“I’m speechless. I finally made it after coming so close many times,” said Chanettee who received her biggest cheque of Bt367,500 as the victor. “Normally I didn’t play well at the back nine but today I was handling the situation well. I really remained patient out there and tried not to lose my concentration.”
Arpichaya, who has won back-to-back titles on the Thai LPGA Tour coming to Pattaya, was chasing closely after Channettee all afternoon, trailing just a shot behind at 10-11 under after 14 holes. All of a sudden, the 18-year-old from Saraburi committed a double bogey after making a poor approach shot on the 15th. And even though she recovered to fire two straight birdies on the 16th and 17th, it was not enough to catch up the younger opponent.
“I was concerned that I would lose my nerve like I did in the last circuit. I was leading in the final round and hit one bad shot that gave Arpichaya the title. This time around, I was handling the situation better. Anyway, I had to give credit to Arpichaya for her fighting spirit after that double bogey,” the teenager paid compliments for her opponent.
Arpichaya failed a chance to make a hat-trick win after claiming back-to-back victories in Nakhon Nayok last month. She signed off with a 69 on 10 under-par- 206.
“I was trying to hit a birdie in the last hole but I didn’t make it. She played a good short game today and gave me no opportunity. But I’m happy that I hit 10 under at this course for the first time,” said Arpichaya who had to settle for the Bt223,440 prize money as the runner-up.
Trichat Cheenglab, 24 from Bangkok, fired a final 66 for a total eight under-par-208 to land at tied third alongside co-overnight leader Parinda Phokan who signed off with a 71.
The SAT-TWT Open is supported by the Sports Authority of Thailand, National Sports Development Fund, SCB Bank, P. Overseas Steel Public Company Limited Golf Prideand Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club. Fans can follow updates of the tournament on THAI WPGA Facebook Page or at www.thaiwpga.com