Thailand’s Boonchu Ruangkit rewrote the European Senior Tour history books when he romped to a stunning 11 shot victory in the Chang Thailand Senior Masters presented by ISPS.
The 53 year old was simply in a different class to the rest of the field at the picturesque Royal Gems Golf Club in Nakhonpathom, rounds of 64-66-65 giving the host nation favourite a whopping 21 under par winning total of 195.
Fellow countryman Jamnian Chitprasong, Frankie Minoza of the Philippines and Japan’s Katsuyoshi Tomori shared a distant second place on ten under par 206 but, as with the rest of the field in the third European Senior Tour event of the 2010 season, they were all merely bit part players in the Boonchu master class.
Ruangkit – who won The Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters seven days ago and is now 35 under par for his last six competitive tournament rounds – became the first player to win consecutive European Senior Tour events since England’s Peter Mitchell won the Scottish Seniors Open and the Italian Seniors Open in October 2008.
In addition to that, he also carded the lowest 54 hole score to par in European Senior Tour history – beating the 18 under par 198 posted by David Good in the 2003 Tunisian Seniors Open and Bob Lendzion in the 2005 Jolie Ville Sharm El Sheikh Open – and also claimed the biggest 54 hole winning margin in Tour history, topping the nine shot victory Tommy Horton achieved in the El Bosque Open in 1998.
“I am extremely pleased with my performance today and very proud of what I have achieved here this week,” said Ruangkit who moved to the top of the Senior Tour Order of Merit. “My putting was just right and my whole game just came together.
“Last night I wasn’t certain that I could win it as Chiprasong and several other players were playing very well. But I went out and played the best I could and fortunately everything fell into place for me.
“To be honest, I didn’t know that there was a chance to break some Senior Tour records but I am delighted that I have managed to get my name in the history books and extremely proud to have done it in my home country as well.”
Leading by three shots overnight, Ruangkit laid down a marker to the rest of the field with a birdie four at the opening hole. Although six par figures followed to give the chasing pack a glimmer of hope, the Thai star ended the tournament as a contest around the turn with five birdies in a row from the eighth.
Another birdie followed at the 15th and although he dropped only his third shot of the entire tournament at the testing 440 yard 16th, Ruangkit made amends and ensured he finished in style with a closing birdie four at the 18th.
Of the three players in second place, Tomori – who won the 2006 Scandinavian Senior Open – produced the best round with a 69. Minoza challenge never truly ignited after a double bogey six at the second and he had to settle for a 71 while consecutive bogeys at the 11th and 12th and another at the 17th accounted for Chitprasong’s 73.
Further down the final leaderboard, England’s Kevin Spurgeon - the winner of the Senior Tour season opener in Mauritius and who Ruangkit replaced at the head of the Order of Merit – finished in a tie for 24th place on one under par 215 alongside the winner of the 2009 Order of Merit, Scotland’s Sam Torrance.
Although satisfied with his own performance in the stifling heat, the former European Ryder Cup Captain paid tribute to the new champion. “Boonchu is amazing,” he said.”I know him very well and he has been a great player for a long time. He showed that once again this week.”
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