An emotional Prayad Marksaeng savours home victory in Thailand Open
Last Updated: March 17, 2013 12:12pm
Prayad Marksaeng: Thai triumphed on home soil
Prayad Marksaeng was a popular winner of the Thailand Open in Pattaya where he became only the second home player of the last 20 years to triumph in his own national championship.
The experienced-Thai professional carded nine birdies in his closing eight-under-par 64 to finish the tournament two strokes clear of Australian Scott Strange.
Another Aussie Nick Cullen (65) was third, one shot further adrift, while six players - that included defending champion Chris Wood - tied-for-fourth.
Padraig Harrington, who had been in contention at the half-way stage, closed with a 66 to finish 10 shots adrift of the 47-year-old Marksaeng.
The decisive shot of a superb final round by Marksaeng was his chip-in birdie at 16, helping him become the first Thai golfer since Boonchu Ruangkit in 2004 to win the tournament.
Urged on by his fellow professionals, the champion took a celebratory jump into the lake adjoining the 18th green following the prize presentation.
He admitted while holding the King's Trophy: "This means so much to me.
"Yes, I cried a bit. I have waited so long for this. It is something that I have dreamed about but I have tried so many times and failed. This time it was my turn."
Marksaeng began the final round at Thana City three strokes adrift of Brazilian leader Lucas Lee.
Strange pushed Prayad all the way but a bogey on the last in his 67 left him two off the pace while Bristollian Wood posted a last day 70.
The runner-up, who led after 36 holes, added: "I gave myself every chance but it just wasn't to be.
"I'm not too unhappy. I'll get over the disappointment but I feel my game has come together and just a putt here or there and it could have been completely different."