Saujana redemption for Witchayanon

Witchayanon Chothirunrungrueng ©Patrick Wong|Saujana

Shah Alam [SELANGOR]: Thailand’s Witchayanon Chothirunrungrueng claimed a dramatic play-off victory at the MPI Generali Saujana Amateur Championship on Thursday – making up for a sudden-death defeat at the Malaysian Amateur Open just days earlier.

The 19-year-old redeemed himself with his first title on foreign soil, holing out a five-footer for par on the first extra hole after Chinese Taipei’s Wang Hei-Hsuan had found the water hazard with his approach shot.

Witchayanon had clawed back from a two-shot deficit with superb closing effort of of five-under 67 to tie second round co-leader Wang on nine-under-par at the Saujana Golf & Country.

The pair were head-to-head for much of the final day with Witchayanon laying down the challenge with back-to-back birdies on 15th and 16th, only for Wang to force extra time with a delightful 25-foot curler for birdie effort at the last.

Witchayanon cut a relieved figure as he held aloft the trophy and credited a practice round decision that paved the way for his victory.

“Despite he (Wang) hitting it into the water, I knew I had to make a clean up-and-down from the bunker to have a chance of winning it,” said Witchayanon, who found the left greenside bunker with his approach shot.

“During the practice round, I observed that the bunker at the 18th hole would very much be in play because of the surrounding water, so I practiced at that bunker many times. Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to another play-off so quickly, so I’m just very happy to have this done and dusted,” added the slender but long-hitting Thai.

Danial Durisic was the best-placed local, settling for a share of tenth with a one-over 217 overall.

207 – Witchayanon Chothirunrungrueng (THA) 68-72-67, Wei-Hsuan Wang (TPE) 71-67-69
213 – Ting-Wei Hsieh (TPE) 74-72-67
214 – Naarajie Emerald Ramadhanputra (INA) 70-72-71, Yu-Wei Lin (TPE) 71-72-71, Abdul Hadi Uda Thith (SIN) 68-77-69, Josh Armstrong (AUS) 71-69-74
215 – Gregory Foo (SIN) 70-72-73, Tyler Wooster (AUS) 71-75-69
217 – DANIAL DURISIC 70-73-74, Andrew Schonewille (AUS) 77-69-71, Ira Christian Alido (PHI) 73-71-73