Thailand’s Thongpipat Rattanayanon emerged as the overall winner of the Cambodian leg of the Faldo Series Asia from the under-16 boys category by a widening 10 shots at the Sir Nick Faldo-designed Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap on Sunday.
The 14-year-old Thongpipat followed in the footsteps of two previous winners from Thailand, which has been sending out a succession of talented youngsters over the past few years.
Opening the first round on Saturday with a solid even-par 72, the Thai junior blew the field away in the second round with a course record-equalling six under par 66. His two round total of 138 (-6) left him 10 shots clear. In his blazing 66, Thongpipat fired eight birdies, five of which coming on the front nine.
After reaching the turn in 33 strokes, he showed remarkable calm to complete the tough back nine with no dropped shots, cruising home with six pars and three birdies. “Thongpipat stood out immediately when I met him on the range during the practice round. He is naturally talented and technically gifted young player with an excellent attitude to match,” AGR director of golf David Baron said. “He is a strong boy and at just 14 years old he is certainly a name to remember. I wish him every success in the grand final.”
“Yet again the Faldo Series Cambodia was a great success, showcasing some of the region’s future champions. I was very impressed with the way all the players conducted themselves throughout the event and, as always, I was blown away with the ability of some of the youngsters,” Baron added.
“Anyone shooting 66 at 14 is a rare talent, and its with thanks to platforms such as the Faldo Series Asia that such talent is given the opportunity to shine and take their game to the next level,” Baron, a member of the British PGA, said.
“The grassroots clinic conducted by PGA head professional Alan Martin was a huge success. It’s now our responsibility to further develop grassroots golf in Cambodia to ensure we see more home grown talent in next year’s event,” Baron said.
The boys U18 and 21 divisions, which were merged, produced a Thailand one-two, with Thanaphum Khanchitworakun claiming top honours by six strokes from runner-up Saranyapong Teeranon.
Thanaphum came out strong in the second round with a three under 69 that helped him comfortably claim the division.
The boys U16 division was won by Paolo Barro of the Philippines with scores of 78 and 74, six shots clear of Ariyawat Juprang of Thailand.
Winning the girls division and qualifying for the grand final was Jenjira Jinangkul (Thailand) with two solid rounds of 73 and 75 claiming a narrow two shot victory from runner up Soktaerodh Sean (New Zealand) who fought to the end with a gutsy final round 75, which was the low round of the day for the girls.
The honour of getting through to the Asia Grand Final at Missions Hills early next year as the Cambodian National qualifier went to Tevy Saroeun. Though Tevy did not have her A game with her this week, she is well equipped to work hard this summer and perform well in China next year.