Thai surprise at DGC
The distance to the pin was a mere three feet, but the pressure many times over. Coupled with the pressure putt was Kiradech Aphibarnrat's tendency to "fail to make a title charge on the last day".other Updated: Mar 25, 2011 23:09 IST
The distance to the pin was a mere three feet, but the pressure many times over. Coupled with the pressure putt was Kiradech Aphibarnrat's tendency to "fail to make a title charge on the last day".
The trembling hands signalled that another round of sighs lay in store but the Thai pulled back. During the brief interlude before the putter got to work, the burly Thai rewound the "experience" gathered on the Asian Tour and put it to work.
Mission accomplished, the Thai went down on all fours, and on rising, the podgy palms came together in thanksgiving.
The elaborate ritual was not to attract eyeballs, but an outpouring of relief. The SAIL Open title and $47,550.00 were his and brought with them a break from the past. "I've waited two years for my first win," he said.
Even before turning pro in 2008, Kiradech felt the need to bolster his luck. Deeply religious, the world junior champion acted on the advice of a monk and changed his name from Anujit Hirunratanakorn.
The faith bore fruit seven years later, but there was more on view at the Delhi Golf Club than luck that gave the 21-year-old's career new direction. "I made some changes to my putting earlier this year and hope to win on the Asian Tour this season," he had said after the second round.
Two off the lead at T2, Kiradech did not rush into throwing the gauntlet on Friday. Going with the plan of "keeping the ball on the fairway and staying patient", it was a conservative front nine — two birdies to a bogey, but he turned on the heat after making the turn. With Ajeetesh Sandhu self-destructing after being in the lead till the 11th, it was down to Siddikur Rahman and Kiradech.
The Thai appeared to have sealed it with birdies on the 12th and 14th but a twist awaited on the 16th with Kiradech dropping a shot and Siddikur picking up one.
Tied at 15-under 273, the final-hole bogey on Thursday played on the mind but Asia's John Daly, as he is known, held firm. No sooner was the winning putt made, Kiradech surged ahead, only to be enveloped by a swarm of arms that doused him with water in celebration.