Wiratchant rallies in Indian Open
Former champion Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand rallied Sunday to edge out overnight leader Richie Ramsay of Scotland on the first hole of a playoff to win the Indian Open and move to the top of the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
Wiratchant, who was two strokes off the lead after three rounds, caught up with Ramsay at 14-under-par 270 with a 5-under 66 in the final round before clinching the title.
Ramsay, who was joint leader along with England’s James Morrison after the first round and sole leader over the subsequent two rounds, made a three-putt bogey on the 18th for a 68 that gave Wiratchant a chance.
On the playoff hole, Ramsay hit his tee shot into a creek but managed a recovery of sorts as his third shot landed on the back of the green. His chip landed about 10 feet past the hole and he then two-putted for a double-bogey.
Wiratchant, the 2005 winner, also struggled but limited the damage to a two-putt bogey after hitting his second shot into the greenside bunker.
”I didn’t expect to win with the way I was driving the ball this week and because Gaganjeet (Bhullar) was the in-form player,” Wiratchant said. ”It means a lot that I’ve won a second Indian Open title and that I’m now leading the Asian Tour Order of Merit. I’ve a good chance of winning now but I’ll need to continue my form. I’m looking forward to the end of the season.”
Wiratchant, who has won a record 15 Asian Tour titles, relied on a fine short game and finished with six birdies and a bogey in his final round.
”I think I only found two fairways in regulation and I didn’t see where Richie was on the 18th hole until the crowd started shouting. It was a huge surprise to me but I’m glad I won,” Wiratchant added.
Two-time European Tour winner Ramsay said his performance on the last day was an ”anomaly.”
”Stuff like that doesn’t usually happen to me,” he said. ”I usually play better under pressure.”
Wiratchant’s compatriot Panuphol Pittayarat (67) finished third at 13 under. India’s Shiv Kapur (66) climbed up to fourth at 12 under.
”I’m happy but not satisfied,” Kapur said. ”I just wanted to go out there and shoot my heart out. This is my national open. Obviously, I’d have liked to win, but fourth is not bad.”