Veteran Thai golfer Prayad Marksaeng won the Singapore Open by a single stroke on Sunday after the tournament favourite Adam Scott blew his chances of a fourth title by hitting two balls into the water.
Prayad shot a final round of four-under-par 67 to finish at nine-under 275 and capture his 20th title since turning professional in 1991, earning himself a place in this year’s British Open.
“I feel like I have done my country proud,” Prayad said. “I am thrilled to earn a spot in The Open too. I hope I can make my country proud again by securing a good result at Royal Birkdale.”
Four players -- Phachara Khongwatmai of Thailand, Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines, Jbe Kruger of South Africa and the defending champion, South Korea’s Song Young-Han -- finished tied for second after a thrilling final day where six players had a share of the lead.
Phachara, Kruger and Song also secured berths in the British Open but Pagunsan missed out because only four places in total were available and he has the lowest ranking of the runners-up. Kruger leapfrogged him for the last spot when he eagled the final hole.
Scott, chasing his fourth victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, led by a stroke heading into the final round but the Australian squandered his chances with a final round of 74 to finish tied for ninth at six-under.
The 2013 US Masters champion still had a share of the lead after six holes but saw his chances of winning sink when he chipped into the water on the seventh hole then hooked his drive into the South China Sea on the 15th.
“I’m pretty disappointed. I didn’t play very well this weekend -- just didn’t hit it close enough to the hole to give myself any real chances,” Scott said.
“There were a couple of bad swings -- one bad swing on the 15th, obviously, a bit of a thinned chip on the seventh that was costly. The rest was just... average.”
Prayad, whose first golf club was made from bamboo and scrap metal, joined the Japan Senior Tour last year when he turned 50 and won four times but was not among the favourites to win the Singapore Open, which featured Scott, Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia.
After a slow start, he went into the final round four shots behind Scott in a tie for 12th but got off to a flyer with three birdies on the front nine.
He dropped a shot on the 11th but birdied the 13th and final holes then endured an anxious wait in the clubhouse before his victory was confirmed.
One by one, the challengers all faltered in the closing holes as the wind picked up. Phachara closed with a 71, Pagunsan with 70 and Kruger and Song each signed for 69.
“I waited in the clubhouse for about two hours before I knew I won the tournament,” Prayad said. “I felt very relaxed, didn’t think too much and just went for my lunch.”