Thailand’s Arnond Vongvanij showed he can match up against the region’s biggest names when he posted a flawless eight-under-par 64 to clinch his maiden Asian Tour title at the King’s Cup yesterday.
Although the 23-year-old is in his rookie season on the Asian Tour, Arnond displayed the form of a seasoned professional to pip veterans Mardan Mamat of Singapore and Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant to the title with his winning total of 22-under-par 266 at the Singha Park Khon Kaen Golf Club in northeast Thailand.
Despite missing out on his fourth win of the season, Thaworn took consolation that he now leads the Asian Tour Order of Merit with his tied-second-place finish alongside Mardan after the duo closed with matching 268s.
Defending champion Udorn Duangdecha of Thailand had to settle for equal fourth alongside compatriot Thammanoon Sriroj after he signed off with a 67.
Arnond finally earned his career breakthrough as he held off the combined challenge of Thaworn and Mardan, who have a total of 18 Asian Tour victories between them.
Starting his final round three shots back of overnight leader Mardan, Arnond birdied holes two, seven, eight and nine to turn in 32.
He continued his birdie run on the 11th, 14th and 16th holes.
However, with Mardan continuing to share the lead right up to the 16th hole, the pivotal moment came at the par-three 17th when Arnond drained a 10-foot birdie putt to take the outright lead.
“I just kept playing one shot at a time and it was really a close fight all the way as Mardan was also making birdies. It was tough not to feel any pressure and I tried to steady my nerves after every hole,” Arnond said.
Arnond survived a scare on the closing 18th when his approach shot missed the green and landed in the rough. However, the Thai managed to save par by chipping his shot to within five feet of the pin for his maiden win.