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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Thai Teenager Weerawish Walks Tall at Watermill

Weerawish Narkprachar produced a near-faultless performance to leave his rivals trailing distantly in his wake in the 14th edition of the Faldo Series Thailand Championship – Bangkok.

Thanks to his commanding five-stroke success at Watermill Golf Club & Resort, the 15-year-old has qualified for a third successive Faldo Series Asia Grand Final appearance.

Fast out of the blocks, Weerawish soared to the top of the leaderboard in the third leg of the 2019-20 Faldo Series Asia season with an opening five-under-par 67. When he birdied four holes in a row on the front nine on day two, the contest was effectively over. From there he coasted to a second-round 68.

Such was his mastery of the course that his 36-hole aggregate of nine-under 135 included 11 birdies against just two bogeys.

It completed a hat-trick of triumphs for Weerawish in the Boys’ Under-16 category at the Faldo Series Thailand Championship – Bangkok. It was also his second overall victory in the event, having displayed his raw talent by topping the standings at Plutaluang Navy Golf Course in 2017, soon after he had turned 13.

The next challenge for Weerawish is to improve on his past two performances at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Vietnam, in March, 2020 when he will line up in the 14th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by six-time Major champion Sir Nick Faldo.

Having finished 15th in the Boys’ Under-16 segment in 2017-18 he appeared on course to win his age-group category in 2018-19 when he held the lead heading into the final round. However, a closing 74 meant he dropped to third, edged out on a countback for runners-up spot.

Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “Congratulations to Weerawish on qualifying for the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final for the third year in a row. That’s quite an achievement, especially for somebody who’s not yet 16.”

Also making the trip to Laguna Lăng Cô will be Sahatsawat Ariyachatvakin (Boys’ Under-21 winner), Poramin Inraksa (Boys’ Under-18 winner), Panchalika Arphamongkol (Girls’ Under-21 winner) and Thanana Kotchasanmanee (Girls’ Under-16 winner).

In tense finales, Sahatsawat and Thanana both had to endure play-offs before securing their passage to Vietnam.

After finishing tied with Putt Sridama on 143, Sahatsawat got the better of his compatriot in a three-hole play-off which was decided on a cumulative score, his even-par total one better than his rival.

Among the Girls’ Under-16s, it was Thanana who prevailed, but only after a major scare.

In the most closely contested segment, Thanana and Thame McFadden posted 36-hole totals of 145, just one ahead of Panissara Tungprapunvong and Thitikarn Thapasit, the first-round leader.

Closing with a 69 to Thanana’s 74, the momentum seemed to be tilted towards McFadden as they headed into sudden-death. But Thanana it was who emerged victorious, McFaden unable to match her par at 18.

The 2019-20 Faldo Series Asia season is supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation. The International Junior Golf Academy is a partner of the Faldo Series.

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