Thailand’s young golfer Thitiphun Chuayprakong won the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open 2016 title after scoring a four-under par 67 to claim a two-shot victory at Kurmitola Golf Club in Dhaka on Saturday.
The 23-year-old Thai marked his card with five birdies against lone bogey in the fourth round for a total of 21-under par 263 to win his maiden Asian Tour victory.
Another Thai golfer Sutijet Kooratanapisan, who completed an overwhelming fourth round with a 66 against three bogeys for a total of 19-under par 265, secured the second place. India’s Shubhankar Sharma posted a 65 for a total of 14-under par 270 to ensure the third place while compatriot Chikkarangappa S. (73) shared fourth with Phachara Khongwatmai of Thailand (68) on 272.
The day belonged to Thitiphun, who kept calm and composure as he continued his fine form in the fourth round with absolute show of golf. His overnight three-shot lead was reduced to two stroke after he bogeyed the 8th hole but he showed his class with a pair of birdies from hole eleven before adding another birdie on the 13th hole. Among qualified five Bangladesh golfers, only Shakhawat Sohel and Zamal Hossain emerged as the top performers securing their position with sixth and seventh place respectively. Sohel spent bogey-free fourth round with three birdies for a total of 11-under par 273. Meanwhile, Zamal bumbled with a bogey at the opening on hole 1. Then he recovered with four birdies aggregate of 11-under par 273.
Siddikur Rahman, who is known as Tiger Woods of Bangladesh, performed poorly throughout the tournament and ended up with 35th position with a combined score of 2-under par 282. He left the course immediately after his last shot without even talking to media.
Champion Thitiphun showed his class when he hit his pinpoint approach shot from about 150 yards in the rough to six-feet from the pin before taking two putts to par the par-four 18 for his breakthrough victory.
“I have been waiting for this win for a very long time. I have worked really hard for this. I practised with Sutijet a lot back home and we are very good friends. I knew he will play good today and he did. I guess I am lucky,” said Thitiphun, nicknamed ‘Tote’ by his friends which means slow as he does things in his own pace.
“I got a bit excited on the last hole because Sutijet birdied 17 and I only had a one shot lead but I just tried my best. When I hit my tee shot into the rough, I thought I should just hit it closer to the pin first. I managed to do that. I think my short game was what helped me to win this week,” added Thitiphun, who pocketed US$54,000 courtesy of his win.
“I think I put up a good fight today. I did my best but Thitiphun was just too good with his short game. This is my best finish on the Asian Tour. I guess it’s not too bad a start for my first tournament of the season,” said the 28-year-old Sutijet, who fired eight birdies against three bogeys.
“I think I had a chance honestly. I knew I had to birdie the last hole to maybe force a playoff but I made a wrong choice of clubs off the tee. I hit driver on the last although I have been using the two-iron for the last few days. I hit it to 80 yards from the pin but made bogey on that hole after missing the green. Overall, I played some solid golf and I am happy with how I finished,” Sutijet added.
Bashundhara Group, the country’s leading business conglomerate, was the title sponsor of the four-day Asian Tour event, which was organized by Bangladesh Golf Federation at Kurmitola Golf Club.
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed handed over the champion’s trophy to Thitiphun Chuayprakong. Shakhawat Sohel was the best Bangladeshi performer. The winning trophy was designed in the form of Bangladesh national animal, the Royal Bengal Tiger.
Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan, Additional Managing Director Safwan Sobhan, Asian Tour Business Development Associate Director Irfan Hamid and Bangladesh Golf Federation Senior Vice-president Major General Mizanur Rahman Khan also attended the prize giving ceremony.
Bashundhara Group Adviser (PR) and Head of AHR Lt Col (retd) Khandaker Abdul Wahed, Adviser and Treasurer Maynal Hossain Chowdhury, Adviser (Press and Media) Mohammad Abu Tayeb and Brig Gen Sayeed Siddique were also present on the occasion.