Thai Itthipat holds nerve to win

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Cavite, Philippines, April 25: Overnight leader Itthipat Buranatanyarat of Thailand survived an early charge by American Casey O’toole and a late scare by Filipino Orlan Sumcad to claim his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) victory at the US$60,000 ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic on Saturday.

championsItthipat, who enjoyed a one-shot advantage heading into the final round, held his nerves to hole a seven-foot birdie putt on the last for a closing even-par 72 and a winning total of five-under-par 283 at the Sherwood Hills Golf Club.

Second-placed Sumcad, who also signed for a 72, nailed a seven-iron from 188 yards for his ace on the par-three 16th hole but was not enough to pip Itthipat, who marked his card with two birdies against two bogeys to win by one shot at the ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic.

O’toole, who made an early charge with four birdies in his opening eight holes, settled for third place on 285 following a 70 at the ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic, which is the second consecutive ADT event to be held in the Philippines this season.

Local veteran Frankie Minoza closed with a 70 to share fourth place on 286 total with American Paul Harris, who returned with a 71, while Order of Merit Hsieh Chi-hsien of Chinese Taipei carded a 72 to stay one shot back in sixth place on his own.

Itthipat, nicknamed Boom, became the third Thai following Panuwat Muenlek and Phachara Khongwatmai to win on the ADT this season.

champion3The talented Thai traded one birdie against two bogeys to turn in 37 and reeled in eight straight pars before scoring a birdie on the last to win the tournament.

“I was really nervous out there and I was really trying hard to hang in there. I was struggling to make birdies after the turn and I was extremely thrilled when I finally made it on the last to win. I told myself to stay calm out there despite the pressure,” said the 22-year-old Thai, who won his first professional title on home soil shortly after joining the play-for pay ranks last year.

“With this win, I feel more confident to challenge for the top-five spots on the Merit rankings this season and try and get my Asian Tour card for 2016. It’s my first time playing in the Philippines and I’m very happy to be able to win here. It has been a great week,” added an ecstatic Itthipat.

Itthipat took home US$10,500 and received six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points courtesy of his victory. He jumped to third place on the Order of Merit behind leader Hsieh and second-placed Arie Irawan of Malaysia.

Sumcad was left to rue a missed opportunity for his maiden ADT win after a roller-coaster round which consisted of one eagle, four birdies, four bogeys, one double-bogey and eight pars.

“I’m disappointed for missing out on my win but I had great fun out there. I had fun playing with Itthipat and I think he deserves to win. I thought I had a chance after that hole-in-one on 16th but I hit a wayward tee shot out of bounce on 17th. Although I managed to save bogey, I was unable to pip Itthipat for the win,” said the 49-year-old Filipino.

Despite failing to leverage on his strong start for a maiden win, O’toole marked his best result on the ADT since plying his trade on the burgeoning Tour last season. He has capped three other top-10s and has not missed a single cut in eight starts this season.

“It was a good result although it’s disappointing to finish this way. I played well today and I got off to a good start. I didn’t finish off great but I will learn from it. Overall, I think I played good this week and I’m happy with how I finished given the windy conditions out here,” said the 24-year-old American, who mixed his card with five birdies against three bogeys.

The ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic is one of the two tournaments title-sponsored by the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) in the Philippines on the ADT schedule this season.

The ADT will reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2016.

With the Olympic Games looming in 2016 where golf will be reintroduced as a medal sport, players in the region could earn their spots in Rio de Janeiro by earning Official World Golf Ranking points through the Asian Tour and ADT.

For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com

Leading fourth round scores

283 – Itthipat BURANTANYARAT (THA) 72-69-70-72

284 – Orlan SUMCAD (PHI) 70-71-71-72

285 – Casey O’TOOLE (USA) 76-70-69-70

286 – Frankie MINOZA (PHI) 71-68-77-70, Paul HARRIS (USA) 68-75-72-71

287 – HSIEH Chi-hsien (TPE) 70-71-74-72

288 – Janne KASKE (FIN) 77-71-71-69, Mitchell SLORACH (SIN) 70-71-77-70

289 – Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN) 69-72-77-71, Poosit SUPUPRAMAI (THA) 68-73-77-71, Cassius CASAS (PHI) 71-71-70-77

About the Asian Development Tour

The Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia. Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour will ultimately create a new playing platform for emerging stars from across Asia and around the world. Through the Asian Tour Qualifying School, players will qualify for the Asian Development Tour and enjoy the opportunity to hone their games and talent through a secondary circuit in Asia. Designed in the same structure as the Web.com Tour in America and European Challenge Tour, the Asian Development Tour is a stepping stone to the Asian Tour and the exciting world of international golf. The Asian Development Tour has been structured to ensure the best opportunities for its members. The leading five players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season, ensuring a proper career pathway for aspiring professionals. All ADT events receive Official World Golf Ranking points.

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