Sutijet springs surprise at Palm Resort

Sutijet Kooratanapisan ©Arep Kulal|PGM Tour

Johor Bahru [JOHOR]: Thailand’s Sutijet Kooratanapisan fired a stunning 12-under-par 60 to defeat home favourite Danny Chia by one shot and win the weather-shortened Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Palm Resort Championship on Saturday.

The 28-year-old Sutijet was on track to a magical 59 but missed a 10-foot birdie on the last to settle for a winning total of 23-under-par 193 in the event which was reduced to 54 holes due to inclement weather.

His round of 60 would have been the 18-hole record on the flourishing domestic circuit, if not for the preferred lies ruling at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club.

Overnight leader Chia posted a 64 to finish in second place while 17-year-old Suradit Yongcharoenchai of Thailand settled for third place on 199 at the RM200,000 (approximately US$46,600) event.

Leading final results (Par-72)
Malaysian unless stated
193 – Sutijet Kooratanapisan (THA) 65-68-60
194 – DANNY CHIA 66-64-64
199 – Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA) 70-64-65
200 – Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA) 68-68-64
202 – Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA) 68-70-64
203 – Koh Deng Shan (SIN) 67-69-67, Oscar Zetterwall (SWE) 67-65-71
204 – Nirun Sae-ueng (THA) 69-68-67, Panuwat Muenlek (THA) 68-67-69, Jakraphan Premsirigorn (THA) 65-68-71
205 – Donlaphatchai Niyomchon (THA) 68-67-70

Sutijet, who was three-shots off the pace at the start of the day, was delighted to win his first ADT title after shooting 10 birdies and holing a 20-foot eagle putt from the fringe of the 16th green.

“I didn’t think about winning even after they reduced the tournament to 54 holes. I stayed focus and played one day, one hole at a time. I played with two other Thai players so that didn’t give me any pressure!” said Sutijet.

“I’ve been waiting for this win since I started playing on the ADT last year. I saw so many Thai players win and now I can finally join them,” he laughed.

He admits that shooting a rare 59 had flashed through his mind when he birdied the 17th hole and was disappointed to miss a makeable birdie on the last.

“I played so well and I had a chance to shoot a 59. I was so sad that I missed the birdie on 18 but luckily I won the tournament!” said Sutijet, who won US$8,944 and earned six Official World Golf Ranking points.

Chia, aiming for a fourth ADT title, was gracious in defeat as he settled for second best after shooting seven birdies and one eagle against one bogey.

“I lost to a better player. Hats off to him for shooting a great score. I didn’t play poorly at all but I lost to someone who enjoyed a great scoring day. On the positive side, I earned some world ranking points which is very important at this stage if I want to play in the Olympics,” said Chia.