Asian Tour: Nitithorn claims International Series Singapore title after nervy wait, as lightning forces delay at the last
- Thai golfer claims clubhouse lead on 16-under and then has 40 minute wait as storm hits
- Pressure-packed putt seals victory for 25-year-old, who claims second win of the season
Nitithorn Thippong won the inaugural International Series Singapore on Sunday after one of the most dramatic finishes seen on the Asian Tour.
After holing a 15ft putt to save par on 18 to take the clubhouse lead on 16-under, Nitithorn then had to wait and see if Gavin Green, Chan Shih-chang or Phachara Khongwatmai could catch him.
It proved to be a much longer wait then expected as the last group were forced off the 18th hole for 40 minutes because of lightning, with Chan on 16-under and Green one back.
When the action resumed, Chan, who just before the weather delay had found water with his tee shot, made a double bogey while Green narrowly missed a 15ft birdie putt.
Nitithorn, who earned a lucrative cheque for US$270,000.
“I cannot describe my feelings right now,” Nitithorn said. “I have practised so hard for this. I hit lot of greens this week and had a lot of birdie putts. I think my mentality was great. I did not think about the score, just the process.”
The 25-year-old closed with a bogey-free three-under 69 to beat Green, Phachara and Richard T Lee from Canada by one shot. Green and Phachara both fired 71s, while Lee returned a 67.
Nitithorn won for the first time on the Asian Tour in March at The DGC Open and is the second player this season to win twice on Tour along with American Sihwan Kim.
The Thai golfer started the day one shot behind overnight leaders Green and Phachara. However, Green got off to the worst possible start and was four over after four, while Phachara also failed to find his A game.
“I got off to a horrendous start, and kind of just clicked the reset button and just kept going,” said Green.
“Because, with this course, a lot of things can happen. And especially on the last hole, as you saw, there was so much drama down the last. It was anybody’s game, and anybody could have done something. A lot of things were going on, but I just kind of stayed in the moment really. I just tried, I tried very, very hard just to keep moving along and just stay as patient as possible.”
Hong Kong amateur Taichi Kho finished well down the field after carding a two-under 70, to finish at two-under for the tournament.
The Asian Tour heads to Lotte Skyhill Jeju Country Club this week for the International Series Korea.