Panuwat bounces back to secure Darulaman title

Panuwat Muenlek ©Arep Kulal|PGM Tour

Alor Setar [KEDAH]: Thailand’s Panuwat Muenlek rode on his fine start to close with a solid six-under-par 66 and secure his second  Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour title at the Darulaman Championship on Saturday.

The 30-year-old Thai, who had held the lead for the first two rounds, fired an eagle on the first hole and added five birdies against a lone bogey to win by three shots on 15-under-par 273 total at the Darulaman Golf and Country Club.

Compatriot Chanat Sakulpolphaisan returned with a bogey-free 67 to take second place while American Johannes Veerman (67), Thailand’s Suradit Yongcharoenchai (69) and India’s Shubhankar Sharma (70) shared third on 277 at the RM200,000 event.

Overnight co-leaders John Catlin (72) of the United States, local duo Irfan Yusoff (73) and Airil Rizman (74) settled for sixth, tied-seventh and tied-ninth places respectively at the Asian Development Tour (ADT) co-sanctioned tournament.

Leading final results (Par-72)
Malaysian unless stated
273 – Panuwat Muenlek (THA) 65-69-73-66
276 – Chanat Sakulpolphaisan (THA) 67-72-70-67
277 – Johannes Veerman (USA) 71-69-70-67, Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA) 69-71-68-69, Shubhankar Sharma (IND) 70-70-67-70
278 – John Catlin (USA) 69-71-66-72
279 Chikkarangappa. S (IND) 71-71-70-67, IRFAN YUSOFF 69- 69-68-73
280 – Wisut Artjanawat (THA) 74-71-66-69, James Byrne (SCO) 67-73-71-69, Danny Masrin (INA) 67-69-73-71, GAVIN KYLE GREEN 68-69-72-71, Nick Sherwood (USA) 67-72-70-71, Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA) 69-71-69-71, Pasamet Pogamnerd (THA) 70-70-69-71, AIRIL RIZMAN ZAHARI 71-67-68-74

Despite slipping out of the lead following a third round 73, Panuwat kept his head high to put up a stellar performance in the final round, taking advantage of his hot start where he nailed an eagle on the par-five first hole for the second time this week.

“I hit a good drive and a good second shot with a four-iron from 213 yards which landed four-feet from the pin. I sank the putt and made an eagle there. It was a superb start for me. It gave me a lot of confidence heading into the round. I kept telling myself I can do it,” said Panuwat, who was one shot back heading into the round.

After nailing an eagle on the first, Panuwat went on to birdie the fourth and fifth holes to turn in 34. He nailed three more birdies on his way home but stumbled with a bogey on the last for his only blemish of the day.

“Everything was good for me today. I was nervous but I hung in there. I have won before and I know I can do it again,” added Panuwat, whose previous victory came at the Terengganu Championship last year.