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03 June 2023

Golf: Chawalit triumphs at Myanmar Open


Birdies on the last two holes propelled Thailand's Chawalit Plaphol to victory at the Zaykabar Myanmar Open, dashing Mithun Perera's hopes of becoming the first Sri Lankan to win on the Asian Tour.

Overnight leader Chawalit was tied with Mithun on 17-under heading into the last hole, but the Thai set up a three-foot birdie putt with an exquisite approach shot at the par five 18th hole to win his fourth Asian Tour title.

Chawalit, 38, closed with a three-under-par 69, with a tournament total of 270, while Mithun, who sank five birdies in the last seven holes, ended the final day of the US$300,000 Asian Tour curtainraiser with an impressive seven-under 65.

Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat came in third following a two-under 70, while Hwang In-choon (67) of Korea, Darren Beck (69) of Australia and Angelo Que (70) of the Philippines were a further shot back in fourth place at the Royal Mingalardon Golf and Country Club.

"I'm happy but a first win in two years is not enough. I want to win more Asian Tour titles," Chawalit was reported as saying in an Asian Tour press release after the match.

"I knew at the 17th hole that Mithun was on 17-under. Luckily, I managed to hole a 15-foot birdie putt to tie for the lead," he said.

"It wasn't smooth for me during the front nine because I was forcing myself to play it safe. I gave myself a bit of pressure and it felt better on the back," he added.

Despite his defeat, Perera, who is the son of Nandasena, a famous name on the old Asian circuit during the 1980s and 1990s, said he was confident that a Tour title was moving closer.

"All you need is one good week to turn your life around. I think the win is not far away for me. I'm sure my father and my country are proud of me. This week, I flew the Sri Lankan flag high," said the 26-year-old.

Leading scores after round four:

270 - Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 67-66-68-69
271 - Mithun PERERA (SRI) 71-68-67-65
272 - Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 64-67-71-70
273 - HWANG In-choon (KOR) 66-70-70-67, Darren BECK (AUS) 66-69-69-69, Angelo QUE (PHI) 69-68-66-70
274 - Quincy QUEK (SIN) 71-69-67-67, Lionel WEBER (FRA) 67-69-70-68, Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 71-66-67-70