Thongchai Jaidee has set his sights on clinching a spot in The Dubai World Championship after his victory at the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open vaulted him into the top 20 in The Race to Dubai.
The Thai ace celebrated his third European Tour win after finishing on 12 under par 276 at New Kuta Golf Club, two strokes ahead of Sweden’s Alexander Noren and English pair Steve Webster and Simon Dyson.
The 39 year old then revealed that his main goal for the year is to be part of the field in The European Tour’s elite season-ending event.
“My key target this year is to finish in the top 60 in The Race to Dubai,” said Jaidee.
“That’s my main goal and the second is to get into the top 50 in the World Ranking. I’ve been trying to do that for a long time and I have not been able to make it but now I think that I have a very good chance.
The Thai entered the final day in Bali nursing a one-shot lead but threatened to pull away on the front nine after holing four birdies on his first seven holes including a chip-in from the collar on the fifth and a putt from the fringe on the seventh.
The early birdie blitz sent him four shots clear but bogeys on the eighth and 14th saw his lead cut to just a single stroke by Webster.
However he held his nerve, holing a birdie on the 16th and completing a three under 69 with an eight-foot par putt at the final hole to secure his first win on The European Tour since the 2005 Malaysian Open.
“My driving, putting and iron game were all good today. I felt very confident out there which helped me a lot,” Jaidee said.
“I knew the pin positions and I was putting well. I missed the green but chipped in on the fifth hole, which was great and on the seventh, I was off the green on the left side but I knocked it in from 12 feet. Those were key holes for me.
“I was unlucky on the eighth because my ball was plugged in the bunker and on the 14th, the wind kept changing direction and I ended up putting my ball into the rough.
“But I made a nice comeback on the 16th with a good drive and second shot and I putted well from there.”
Noren shot a closing 70, Webster fired a bogey-free 68 while Dyson was left to rue a double bogey on the 14th in his closing 69.
Dyson had launched an early challenge with three birdies on the first five holes to improve to 10 under but fell back after three-putting the seventh for bogey.
He revived his charge with a birdie on the 11th but his hopes evaporated on the 14th when he took double bogey after his drive fell just short of a fairway bunker and he shanked his ball into an unplayable lie behind a tree.
Birdies on the 16th and 18th moved him back up to ten under but it came too late for Dyson, who has not won on The European Tour since the 2006 KLM Open.
“It’s a shame really. I was so unlucky on the 14th hole. A foot further left and I would’ve been in the bunker, and a foot further right I would’ve had a straightforward shot,” said the 31 year old.
“I was just stood too close to the ball, which is why I shanked it. It can go anywhere when you shank it, and unfortunately it ended up in a bush, so I had to take a penalty drop.
“I just needed a bit of luck and I didn’t really get it but I’m probably playing the best golf I’ve ever played. I know my game`s in good enough shape and hopefully I can keep it up for the rest of the season.”
Noren began the final round one stroke off the lead but dropped off the pace on the front nine after going out in 36 with two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine.
A bogey followed on the 14th after he needed two shots to escape a fairway bunker but the Swede closed back to within two shots of the lead with an eagle on the 16th and a birdie on the 17th.
He had the chance to put some pressure on Jaidee at the last but narrowly missed his 18 foot birdie attempt.
“I played well all day. I struggled with the greens a bit, and I also struggled in the heat at times but I kept at it,” said the 26-year-old.
“Thongchai deserved to win though because he played well and was strong mentally.”