Danthai strikes in Saujana

Danthai Boonma ©Patrick Wong|SGCC
Danthai Boonma ©Patrick Wong|SGCC

Subang: Danthai Boonma became the first Thai to win the MPI-Saujana Amateur Championship after a tense final round tussle with overnight leader Jarryd Felton of Australia on Thursday.

The 18-year-old from Bangkok pulled off an exquisite par save from the bunker on the last to close with a two-over 74 – totalling two-under 214 over three days for a single shot victory at the Bunga Raya tract of Saujana Golf & Country Club.

Leading overnight by one, Felton rued a disappointing double bogey on the 14th as he returned with a 76 to settle for second, one stroke better than Filipino Justin Quiban (74).

Maung Maung Oo of Myanmar fired an even round of 72 to take a share of fourth place with Aussie Jake McLeod (74) and Chieh Po-Lee (74) of Chinese Taipei at 217. First round joint leader Low Khai Jei was the best-placed Malaysian in 14th, with a three-day haul of 223.

Boonma, the reigning South East Asia (SEA) Games champion, traded two birdies and three bogeys on the front nine to take a one-shot advantage but fell behind on the 10th with a bogey as Felton birdied the hole. With the duo even through 15th, Boonma carded his third birdie of the round the 16th to edge ahead – a lead which he held till the end.

“I was quite nervous at the start and conceded three early bogeys but luckily, I managed to settle down and focused on my game. The pressure was on from the start and I guess it showed in my putting today, as I missed some crucial short putts.

“Nonetheless, I’m very excited to win this tournament, especially how I settled my nerves and pulled off my shots on the closing stretch,” said  Boonma, who admitted that the difficult pin positions and wet conditions meant that it came down to who committed fewer mistakes in the end.

Felton was magnanimous in defeat as he reflected on the costly double bogey which took the tournament away from him.

“I had a large chunk of mud at the back of my ball after my drive on the 14th. I tried laying up with a 7-iron but the ball flew off way left. My third shot landed in a hard-panned bunker and I messed it up with a double bogey. I guessed at that point that it wasn’t meant to be my day. I’m disappointed obviously because it wasn’t for a lack of effort but Boonma played well,” said the 19-year-old Perth native.

Leading final round scores
214 – Danthai Boonma (THA) 69-71-74
215 – Jarryd Felton (AUS) 70-69-76
216 – Justin Quiban (PHI) 71-71-74
217 – Chieh-Po Lee (TPE) 69-74-74, Jake McLeod (AUS) 73-70-74, Maung Maung Oo (MYR) 72-73-72
218 – Cory Crawford (AUS) 74-67-77
220 – Mark Ong (SIN) 74-72-74
221 – Tirto Tamardi (INA) 73-74-74, Yuma Ohno (JPN) 76-73-72, Gregory Foo (SIN) 72-73-76, Johnson Poh (SIN) 76-72-73
222 – Jerome Ng (SIN) 71-81-70
223 – Low Khai Jei (MAS) 69-78-76
224 – Ekthumrong Luanganurak (THA) 75-71-78
225 – Abdul Hadi Uda Thith (SIN) 76-73-76, Shinichi Mizuno (HKG) 75-73-77