The 2015 edition of the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship came into conclusion on the 27th of December. The season-ending co-sanctioned event of the Asian Development Tour and the Singha All Thailand Tour took place in the breathtaking landscapes of Khao Yai on the Rancho Charnvee Resort & Country Club golf course.
The event gathered players from all around the world including local fan favourites such as European Tour winners Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
Impeccable condition of the golf course and fantastic weather gave the players scoring opportunities that were ruthlessly used.
Phachara Khongwatmai’s Phenomenal Performance
Preceding the fourth and final round of the tournament, the nationality of the winner looked to be clear: 18 players out of the top-20 were competing on their native soil of Thailand.
The setting was thrilling: rising young stars battling each other with the more experienced players still at striking distance. Halfway through the round, the only 16-year-old phenomenon Phachara Khongwatmai had taken the solo lead with a spectacular front nine of 30 (-5).
Shaky start to the back nine opened the gates for the players chasing, and none other than the great Thongchai Jaidee took grasp of the opportunity with an astonishing eagle on the 14th. With back-to-back birdies on 16 and 17, Jaidee took the clubhouse lead at -21 after a round of 65.
Playing a couple of groups behind, Phachara rose back to the performance level he had been exhibiting throughout the week. Birdies on 14 and 15 opened a two-shot-lead with two holes to play. Nerves took over again at the 17th, when he missed a short putt for par which meant that he’d have to make a par on the 72nd hole to avoid a playoff with his idol.
Phachara showed cool nerves and sheer maturity approaching the reachable short par 4 with an iron off the tee. After a fine approach shot to 15 feet, Phachara two-putted for par to take the win with total score of -22 after a sensational performance.
Honoring the Legendary Boonchu Ruangkit
Somewhat all the Thai players stayed for the award ceremony to celebrate the victory of the young Phachara and to honor the legendary Boonchu Ruangkit, Thailand’s grand golf master, at the year-ending event.
The atmosphere among the joyful and relaxed players was an illustration of genuine team spirit which thrives behind the mountains of Khao Yai.
Player spotlight: JOHN CATLIN
Born: 15/11/1990 Sacramento, California USA
Strength: Driver, long & straight
Asian Tour 2015 highlight: Beat Ernie Els in Macao.
Career plans: European Tour in 3 years, PGA Tour in 5 years
Personal motto: “If you can’t control your game no one else can”
Player spotlight: JANNE KASKE
Born: 12.05.86 FINLAND
Strength: Driver, putter 🙂
Asian Tour 2015 Highlight: 5th place at Bashundhara Bangladesh Open
Asian Development Tour Highlight 2015: 2 wins (PGM MNRB Sarawak Championship and PMG MIDF KLGCC Championship)
Career plans: 2016 Asian Tour, PGA Tour in 5 years
Personal motto: “I just go where my guitar takes me”
16 – Phachara Khongwatmai is only 16 years of age
65.5 – The winner’s tournament scoring average
45 – Out of 54 players who made the cut were Thai
5 – Tournament cut was set at 5 under par
Rancho Charnvee Golf Resort & Country Club Khao Yai
Khao Yai is an excellent place for a long weekend golf destination from all around Asia. Rancho Charvnee is a great spot, good also for a one night trip from Bangkok, around 3 hours drive from Bangkok City / Suvarnabhumi airport and 2–2.5hours from Don Mueang airport.
Rancho Charvnee’s Green Fees are set to 1300 on weekdays, 2400 baht on weekends, which for this quality of Golf Course is a true bargain!
Hotel DVaree Charnvee is situated just next to the golf course, and rates per night start from around 3500 baht.
For years to come, Rancho Charnvee will certainly host fantastic venues, and the big names of golf and spectators around the world are welcome! Rancho´s private airstrip is waiting for you 😉
Written by Jouko Piik, Nemo Guides’ Golf News correspondent