The 21-year-old Thai displayed great form all week as he traded two
birdies against as many bogeys on Sunday to secure his wire-to-wire
Asian Development Tour (ADT) victory on 18-under-par 262 total at Laguna
Compatriot Pawin Ingkhapradit returned with an impressive 66, but he was
unable to overhaul Varanyu's lead. He took second-place on his own at
the B2 million (approx. US$64,000) event co-sanctioned by the ADT and
the All Thailand Golf Tour.
South African Mathiam Keyser signed for a 69 to take third place,
marking his best finish on the ADT this season. Nitithorn Thippong of
Thailand, who started the final round in second, struggled with nerves
and dropped two places after carding a 71 while Sweden’s Oscar
Zetterwall (67) and Thailand’s Worrasorn Suwanpanang (68) share fifth
place on 272 at the Tour’s eighth leg of the season.
Playing in the final group for the first time in his professional
career, Varanyu was surprised by his father and sister who flew down
from his hometown of Phetchaburi, Thailand, to watch him play.
“It feels like a dream! I have worked so hard all year and to finally
get a win and in Thailand is amazing. My mother has been following me
all four days and I didn’t know my father was going to come. It makes
me so happy that they got to see my first win,” said Varanyu who also
had his brother on his bag this week.
Varanyu dropped a shot on the first hole but would soon recover with a
birdie on hole three. He maintained a steady momentum with nine pars,
before dropping another shot on hole 13 due to an errant drive. He would
finish out his last five holes with a birdie on 14 when he made an
up-and-down from 15 yards followed by four more pars.
“After I made bogey on hole one, my brother just told me to stay calm
and not speed up my tempo. I was nervous but having my whole family
there to support me helped. He would distract me from the scores and I
just stuck to the game plan of playing like I did the past three
days,” added Varanyu.
Sticking to his tee-to-fairway-to-green game plan, Pawin fired four
birdies in a bogey-free round to match his low round one score.
“The highlight of today's’ round would have to be hole 16 when I
missed the green to the left and chipped-in for birdie from 15-yards. I
hit everything well today and my tempo was good. I am pretty happy with
my second-place finish especially since I played all four rounds under
par this week. I felt like I was really focused on my game plan and not
thinking about other people today.” said the 26-year-old Pawin.
After this win, Varanyu took up membership on the ADT and is currently
10th on the merit rankings. He took home a winner’s prize purse of
US$9,450 and six Official World Golf Ranking points while the top-six
players and ties earned points on a sliding scale.
The leading five players on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the
season will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2019
Leading round four scores:
262 - Varanyu RATTANAPHIBOONKIJ (THA) 62 61 69 70
268 - Pawin INGKHAPRADIT (THA) 66 69 67 66
270 - Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 66 67 68 69
271 - Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) 64 66 70 71
272 - Oscar ZETTERWALL (SWE) 64 67 74 67, Worrasorn SUWANPANANG (THA) 68 67 69 68
273 - Tawan PHONGPHUN (THA) 68 69 70 66, John Michael O'TOOLE (USA) 65 71 69 68
274 - Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA) 73 68 68 65