2006 flashback: Chawalit's bold approach pays off
Plaphol lived up to the adage that fortune favours the brave as
he secured a popular home triumph at the Bangkok Airways Open.
He did not cower in the face of the notorious Santiburi Samui Country
Club, nicknamed the "Samui Beast", as the Thai birdie
machine conjured a thrilling play-off victory over Canadian Rick
The smooth-swinging Thai started the final round six shots off the
pace and had looked hopelessly out of the title hunt. But he stuck
to his aggressive game plan and reaped the rewards.
While others, including title holder Lu Wen-teh of Chinese Taipei,
succumbed to the Samui Beast, a superb final round of four-under-par
67, the day's best, sent Chawalit into a play-off he was always
destined to win against Gibson.
Manila-based Gibson, who had signed off with a 69, failed to save
par from four feet on the 18th in extra time to hand Chawalit a
second Asian Tour triumph.
"I'm very happy. Although I won in Japan two years ago, this
is only my second Asian Tour title since 1998 and to do it in Thailand
is very nice," said Chawalit.
He attacked the par-71 test, which demands accuracy from off the
tee and approach shots into the greens, and enjoyed a superb outward
30 with five birdies. Chawalit stumbled briefly on the 10th and
12th holes with bogeys but it did not dampen the fiery Thai who
birdied the 16th hole. Gibson fell prey to the tricky course, which
saw only four players breaking par after four rounds, when he bogeyed
the 17th hole.
I'm an aggressive player and I didn't change my style although
this is such a tough course. I knew six shots back wasn't much and
I kept playing hard. said the 32-year-old Chawalit, whose
previous triumph was at the Orient Masters in China.
Gibson was disappointed to lose the way he did with a poor chip
costing him dearly. With his 14-year-old son Karl acting as caddie
for the first time, Gibson came up short of the finish line. "It
was nice to be in the hunt, it's been a while. It's not disappointing
losing a play-off, it's disappointing to lose by making a bogey.
It was a bad chip, he said.
Singapores Mardan Mamat came close to joining the shoot-out
as he finished in third place a stroke off the pace while last year's
winner Lu stumbled badly towards the end with a 75 for fourth spot.
The veteran led for most of the final day before a costly triple
bogey on 17 knocked him off his perch. "It was just one bad
hole which cost me," said Lu. "I hit a good drive but
got unlucky and before I knew it, I was staggering off the green
with a big number."
Leading final round scores
281 - Chawalit Plaphol (THA) 71-70-73-67, Rick Gibson (CAN) 69-72-71-69
(Chawalit wins play-off with par on the first hole of sudden-death)
282 - Mardan Mamat (SIN) 70-69-72-71
283 - Lu Wen-teh (TPE) 68-68-72-75
284 - Iain Steel (MAS) 66-78-72-68, Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 67-70-74-73
286 - Lee Sung (KOR) 71-71-70-74
287 - S.S.P. Chowrasia (IND) 73-71-74-69, Thongchai Jaidee (THA)
74-73-68-72, Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 68-73-72-74
288 - Chen Yuan-chi (TPE) 74-73-68-73
290 - Anthony Kang (USA) 73-71-76-70, Digvijay Singh (IND) 81-67-72-70
292 - Simon Nash (AUS) 74-77-70-71, P. Gunasegaran (MAS) 73-69-76-74,
Garth Mulroy (RSA) 72-75-69-76
293 - Wang Ter-chang (TPE) 72-73-74-74, Juvic Pagunsan (PHI) 73-70-74-76
294 - Somkiat Srisanga (THA) 71-72-80-71, Amandeep Johl (IND) 75-76-72-71,
Park Jun-won (KOR) 72-73-75-74, Prom Meesawat (THA) 72-70-76-76
June 4, 2007