Veteran Prayad storms Sentosa course to win Singapore Open
Thai golfer, who turns 51 next Monday, is second-oldest winner on the Asian Tour
After carding a four-under 67 yesterday at the SMBC Singapore Open, Prayad Marksaeng had lunch and casual conversations, and even posed for pictures with the SMBC Singapore Open trophy as the rest of the field made their way back to the clubhouse at the Serapong course.
There was nothing unusual about the scene, except that the Thai golfer was leading the tournament then and was waiting to see if others would overtake him in the end.
There were as many as 11 golfers within two strokes of Prayad on the final day of the US$1 million (S$1.43m) event yesterday, but a combination of rising winds and errors saw every single challenge slip away on the Serapong.
In the end, Prayad carded a four-day total of nine-under 275, a stroke ahead of four players, including 2016 champion Song Young Han.
Prayad said: "I waited in the clubhouse for about two hours before I knew I won the tournament. I felt very relaxed, didn't think too much and just went for my lunch.
"I watched how the other players played on TV too. I told myself I didn't need to feel nervous as I have already finished my round. If it belongs to me, it belongs to me."
The win came eight days before his 51st birthday, making him the second-oldest player to win on the Asian Tour, behind Mukesh Kumar who won at 2016's Panasonic Open India aged 51 years and 126 days.
275: Prayad Marksaeng*
276: Phachara Khongwatmai*, Juvic Pagunsan, Jbe Kruger*, Song Young Han*,
277: Park Sang Hyun, Rikuya Hoshino, Satoshi Kodaira
278: Adam Scott
279: Sergio Garcia, Angelo Que
282: Quincy Quek
284: Choo Tze Huang
288: Gregory Foo
291: Joshua Ho
* Qualified for The Open at Royal Birkdale
As a bonus birthday present, Prayad earns a spot at The Open later this year.
There were four spots up for grabs at the Singapore Open, and the Thai will be joined by countryman Phachara Khongwatmai, South African Jbe Kruger and South Korean Song, at golf's oldest Major.
The Thai said: "This will be the best birthday present for me. I am very happy with my birdie on the last. It was a really long putt, about seven feet. I am glad I made it.
"I am happy that I managed to finish my round before the rain suspension.
"I don't like having to wait for play to resume actually. It's too slow for me. I like to play fast."
Meanwhile, the Republic's golfers did not enjoy their final rounds yesterday.
Quincy Quek carded a three-over 74 to tie for 26th - his best performance at the Singapore Open.Choo Tze Huang also carded a 74, but finished tied for 35th.Joshua Ho (77, 291) and Gregory Foo (73, 288) were the only other Singaporeans who played over the weekend.