Kajang [SELANGOR]: Thailand registered a historic victory at the 28th Asia-Pacific Amateur Golf Team Championship, lifting the prestigious Nomura Cup for the first time on Sunday.
The quartet of Kammalas Namuangruk, Sadom Kaewkanja, Atiruj Winaicharoenchai and Kosuke Hamamoto were on fire as they strolled to a sensational 12-stroke victory over past champions Japan.
Their stunning four-day total of 56-under-par 808 at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Sungai Long Golf & Country Club was the lowest-ever team score recorded in the 54-year history of the biennial meet.
Rounds of 64, 72, 64 and 70 saw Kammalas taking medalist honors with a 19-under-par overall, one clear of Japan’s Kazuya Osawa.
Leading final results (Par-72)
808 – 🇹🇭 Thailand 204-199-201-204
820 – 🇯🇵 Japan 209-204-202-205
825 – 🇦🇺 Australia 211-202-209-203
832 – 🇳🇿 New Zealand 204-211-211-206
840 – 🇰🇷 Republic of Korea 207-205-209-219
841 – 🇹🇼 Chinese Taipei 206-208-212-215
842 – 🇨🇳 China 213-208-215-206
847 – 🇮🇩 Indonesia 210-206-219-212, 🇭🇰 Hong Kong 218-215-208-206, 🇮🇳 India 215-209-213-210
848 – 🇸🇬 Singapore 214-212-212-210
855 – 🇲🇾 MALAYSIA 211-216-210-218
855 – 🇵🇭 Philippines 213-212-216-223
891 – 🇵🇰 Pakistan 226-223-227-215, 🇸🇦 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 216-223-228-224
927 – 🇬🇺 Guam 238-231-231-227
928 – 🇫🇯 Fiji 236-231-229-232
940 – 🇳🇵 Nepal 234-239-231-236
953 – 🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates 244-234-238-237
958 – 🇶🇦 Qatar 244-241-235-238
978 – 🇧🇭 Bahrain 247-245-244-242
1020- 🇲🇳 Mongolia 254-255-254-257
1072- 🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan 273-262-275-262
South East Asia (SEA) Games gold medalist Hamamoto, who was speaking on behalf of the team, shared that the win was a real achievement, noting that great Thai teams in the past have come close but fell short.
“Feels great and we’re truly honoured to be the first Thai team to win this prestigious championship. It’s a massive win for our country and truth be told, this event was a big target for us this year. We worked hard towards achieving that goal and I’m proud that we got the job done,” said the 19-year-old Chiang Mai native.
“We knew that the Australians and Japanese were favourites coming into the week but I think the flunctuating [weather] conditions worked in our favour. The course wasn’t that long and we’re all pretty consistent iron players and good putters, so it worked to our advantage.
“More importantly, each day, one or two of the guys went really low to keep us up there, which is how a good team should work. We have been together since the start of the year and the chemistry is great. Credit to Kammalas, who led the team superbly this week from the word go,” he added.
Malaysia’s hopes of retaining their top-ten finish from two years ago came to nought as the team of Muhd Afif Mohd Fathi, Muhd Afif Mohd Razif, Rhaasrikanesh Kanavathi and Chan Tuck Soon slipped up in the final round.
The hosts had to settle for 12th placing with a four-day total of nine-under-par 855, thanks largely to an impressive Muhd Afif Mohd Fathi, who added a closing effort of one-under 71 to finish joint fifth in the individual standings on 14-under-par.
The 17-year-old was cruising to another a good round but dropped shots on the closing stretch put a slight dent on what was otherwise, a coming-of-age display.
“To finish top-five in such an elite tournament, on my senior debut for the national team – that’s stuff of dreams. I’m surprised but very happy with my performance. The confidence I gained this week, it’s going to help me on my golfing journey,” he noted.
How the 🇲🇾 Malaysians finished
274 – Muhd Afif Mohd Fathi 68-71-64-71 [T5]
289 – Muhd Afif Mohd Razif 70-75-72-72 [T40]
295 – Rhaasrikanesh Kanavathi 73-72-74-76 [T49]
296 – Chan Tuck Soon 74-73-74-75 [T51]
A total of 23 member countries of the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation participated in the event, which will head to Hong Kong in 2019.