Atiruj shows golden touch in Faldo Series Thailand Championship
Bangkok, Thailand (April 22): Atiruj Winaicharoenchai underlined his reputation as one of Asia’s brightest young golfing prospects with an accomplished victory in the 10th anniversary edition of the Faldo Series Thailand Championship.
Marking himself down as a star in the making, Atiruj proved too strong for his rivals at Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club in the second leg of the record-breaking 2015-16 Faldo Series Asia season.
Displaying poise and power, Atiruj posted successive rounds of four-under-par 68 at the Pattaya course. His 36-hole total of 136 was three shots clear of overall runner-up Tunrada Piddon and nine in front of his closest challengers in the Boys’ Under-16 category.
Since winning the Boys’ 12-13 section at the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships in 2013, Atiruj has been widely tipped for a successful golfing career.
Six-time Major champion Sir Nick Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “Before this week’s tournament I said I was excited to see the emergence of the latest crop of Thai golfers and that I was sure there will be some stars of the future among them. Based on his performance at Phoenix Golf, clearly Atiruj is among them.
“Not since Nakarin Ratanakul was crowned champion in 2007 have we had a Thai boy win the overall title at the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final. Perhaps Atiruj can put the record straight.”
Thanks to his win, Atiruj, who will celebrate his 15th birthday next month, will lead a five-strong Thai contingent to the 10th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick at Mission Hills China next March.
Also making the trip will be age group winners Channut Buntavong (Boys’ Under-21); Vithchapat Sinsarang (Boys’ Under-18);Nuchakorn Nunphakdi (Girls’ Under-21) and Tunrada Piddon (Girls’ Under 16).
Supported by The R&A and Mission Hills and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2015-16 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months and will include a minimum of 21 events in 17 countries including, for the first time, Australia.
Winners of age-group categories at each of the national championships will earn themselves places in the 10th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final.
Recognised as the only global amateur series for boys and girls, the Faldo Series was established in 1996, expanding to Asia in 2006.
Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching more than 7,000 golfers each year. Past winners include Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, who took his tally of professional Major titles to four with his wins at last year’s Open Championship and US PGA Championship.
Faldo Series Thailand Championship, leading final scores:
151 – Channut Buntavong (70-81)
152 –Prasopchok Chaiyanboon (75-77)
170 – Komchan Suwannachuen (89-81)
143 – Vithchapat Sinsarang (69-74); Pakorn Niamsang (72-71)
153 – Natthaporn Wiangchanok (76-77)
136 – Atiruj Winaicharoenchai (68-68)
145 -Thongpipat Rattanayanon (72-73); Nattahpol Meebangyan (68-77)
145 – Nuchakorn Nunphakdi (71-74)
165 –Donchanok Toburint (81-84); Rachanok Rahulpan (82-83)
139 – Tunrada Piddon (69-70)
143 – Onkanok Soisuwan (70-73)
146 – Rina Tatematsu (74-72)
For full scores and results from the Faldo Series Thailand Championship visit http://www.faldoseriesasia.info/tic/tmtic.cgi. You can also follow the Faldo Series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/faldoseries and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/faldoseries.