Date: December 09, 2007

Prayad victorious in Thailand

Thai ace Prayad Marksaeng capitalised on the final-round struggles of Juvic Pagunsan with a birdie at the final hole to secure victory at the season-ending Volvo Masters of Asia on Sunday. Prayad began the day in joint-third place, five strokes behind the Filipino, but carded a closing three-under-par 69 at the Thai Country Club to finish on 13-under 275 – one shot clear of Pagunsan and England&aposs Chris Rodgers. Pagunsan was 15-under after three rounds, four shots clear of the field, after firing a seven-under 65 in the second round and a 66 on Saturday, but blew his chances of winning the Asian Tour event by bogeying the 18th for a closing 75. Rodgers, who was seven shots adrift of Pagunsan after three rounds, shot five birdies to move into contention but missed out on a sudden-death playoff after also bogeying the 18th for a round of 68. Simon Yates was Pagunsan&aposs closest challenger after three rounds but a one-over 73 saw him drop into a tie for fourth place with Mark Brown of New Zealand (72) at 10-under 278. Pagunsan&aposs Filipino compatriot Gerald Rosales was alone in sixth place after firing a 70 to finish at nine-under with Taichiro Kiyota of Japan a further shot back in seventh after also carding a 70. Australians Adam Blyth and Scott Hend shared eighth place with Thailand&aposs Prom Meesawat at eight-under. While Pagunsan struggled through the front nine with four bogeys in five holes, Prayad picked up birdies at the second and seventh to move into contention on 12-under. The 41-year-old dropped a stroke after his only bogey of the day on the 13th but put himself back on track with a birdie at the next hole before holing his fourth birdie at the par-four 18th. “This is certainly the biggest win of my career,” said Prayad, after claiming his sixth Asian Tour triumph. “On the last, I was just looking to put my approach shot on the green and give myself a chance. I knew I could make birdie if I was on the green and I&aposm glad I did.” Pagunsan regained his composure with birdies at the 10th and 12th to move back to 13-under but found a greenside bunker at the last and failed to hole his par-putt from 12 feet to miss out on a playoff with Prayad. “I bogeyed the last hole again and it was costly (he bogeyed the 18th three times during the week). My approach did not connect properly and it went into the bunker. It was disappointing to lose like that,” said Pagunsan. “I played very badly on the front nine. I missed a couple of drives and several putts lipped out.” “At that stage I thought this tournament was not going to be mine, it is for Prayad. I am happy for him. That is golf. I did not hit enough good shots today.” With Thailand&aposs Chapchai Nirat only finishing in a tie for 12th on five-under 283, Liang Wenchong of China was able to secure the Asian Tour Order of Merit title. The Chinese player shot a level-par 72 to finish tied for 28th on 289, giving him $US532,590 for the season. “This achievement is the best of my career. With this feat I have gone to the next stage, a different platform. Also, it is a brand new beginning and I have achieved the first goal,” said Liang. “I am honoured to be the first Chinese to win the Order of Merit. I do not know what it will do for China golf. Hopefully the publicity about my win will create more interest in golf (on the mainland).” Final scores from the Volvo Masters of Asia -13: Prayad Marksaeng (Thailand) 67 71 68 69 -12: Chris Rodgers (England) 70 68 70 68, Juvic Pagunsan (Philippines) 70 65 66 75 -10: Mark Brown (New Zealand) 70 66 70 72, Simon Yates (Scotland) 69 69 67 73 -9: Gerald Rosales (Philippines) 70 68 71 70 -8: Taichiro Kiyota (Japan) 72 68 7070 -7: Adam Blyth (Australia) 72 69 70 70, Prom Meesawat (Thailand) 70 67 73 71, Scott Hend (Australia) 68 67 74 72 -6: Gavin Flint (Australia) 70 68 73 71 -5: Lin WenTang (Chinese Taipei) 72 70 72 69, Simon Griffiths (England) 68 71 7569, Rahil Gangjee (India) 70 74 70 69, Chapchai Nirat (Thailand) 71 69 71 72, Thaworn Wiratchant (Thailand) 71 70 69 73 -4: Thongchai Jaidee (Thailand) 70 69 77 68, David Gleeson (Australia) 72 74 65 73