Rookie Srithong clinches Manila Mas­ters in thrilling style

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

MANILA: Thai­land’s Natipong Srithong hit a bril­liant five-un­der-par 67 to claim the Manila Mas­ters in thrilling style yes­ter­day, be­com­ing the sec­ond Thai new­comer to win in suc­ces­sive weeks on the Asian Tour.

The 22-year-old, who only turned pro­fes­sional in Septem­ber, carded a 15un­der-par 273 over­all score at the par-72 Manila South­woods Golf and Coun­try Club af­ter over­com­ing a four-shot deficit in the fi­nal round.

Srithong fin­ished one shot ahead of South Africa’s Jbe Kruger-who closed with a 71 — while overnight leader Hung Chien-yao of Tai­wan, who sank a hole-in-one, was two shots be­hind along­side com­pa­triot Lee Chieh-po.

The win­ner of what is the rich­est golf event in the Philip­pines, a fi­nal year law un­der­grad­u­ate, earned US$180,000 for his re­mark­able vic­tory, em­u­lat­ing close friend and fel­low rookie Dan­thai Boonma, who won in Sin­ga­pore last week.

“See­ing Dan­thai win­ning last week was an in­spi­ra­tion,” said Srithong, who made cru­cial birdies on the 12th, 15th and 17th to emerge tri­umphant. “He was my room­mate the past two weeks and af­ter he won, he said it will be my turn soon. I didn’t ex­pect it to be so soon,” added Srithong in com­ments sup­plied by the or­gan­is­ers.

Overnight leader Hung en­dured a tor­rid start, drop­ping four shots in six holes be­fore he staged a fight­back with a mag­i­cal hole-in-one on the 13th with a finely struck two iron tee shot. But de­spite his hero­ics, he only man­aged to card 73 on his fi­nal round.

Fi­nal scores (par-72)

273- Natipong Srithong (THA) 7169-66-67. 274 - Jbe Kruger (RSA) 69-65-69-71. 275 - Lee Chieh-po (TPE) 68-66-7170, Hung Chien-yao (TPE) 67-67-68-73.

276 - Rahil Gang­jee (IND) 72-66-7068, Chan Kim (USA) 69-71-68-68, Prom Mee­sawat (THA) 72-68-67-69, Car­los Pigem (ESP) 68-71-67-70.

277 - Paul Peter­son (USA) 70-67-7466, Lionel We­ber (FRA) 72-67-70-68, Sam Brazel (AUS) 68-72-67-70. —AFP

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