Jamie Donaldson of Wales posted a superb closing round score of 65 to win the Thailand Golf Championship at Amata Spring CC by three shots from Lee Westwood and Clement Sordet.
Jamie Donaldson started the final day two shots behind Sordet, but he opened his closing round strongly with three straight birdies. Further gains at the seventh and eighth holes saw the 40-year-old reach the turn in 32.
The Welshman appeared to have the cruise control switched on as he made three further birdies at the 10th, 12th and 15th holes. But when he dropped a shot at the 16th and both Lee Westwood and Sordet carded birdies, Donaldson’s lead was reduced from three shots to just one.
The 2014 Ryder Cup hero dug deep though and made a birdie at the 17th to regain a cushion. He held it together and closed out a memorable win.
“This is certainly one of my best victories,” he said. “There are a lot of good players playing in the tournament this week. The field is very strong and to beat these guys is great.”
4 Talking points from the Thailand Golf Championship
1 – This was Donaldson’s first victory of 2015 and it hugely improves what was otherwise a rather disappointing season. The Welshman finished 48th on the 2015 Race to Dubai and posted just two top-10 finishes. (He also managed two top-10s on the PGA Tour early in 2015 – The Honda Classic and the Players Championship.) This victory though will give him great confidence going into next season.
2 – There was further reward for Donaldson in Thailand. With the victory he has qualified to play in The Open Championship at Royal Troon next July. The top four finishers in the Thailand Golf Championship not already in the field for The Open gained a start in the year’s third Major. The other three making it to Troon were Lee Westwood, Clement Sordet of France and Phachara Khongwatmai of Thailand.
“It’s great to be have made it into The Open,” said Westwood. “I’ve played every one since 1995 so it’s great to keep that run going. It’s been 21 years now and I’ve not missed one, so I’m happy,” said Westwood.”
Lee Westwood swing analysis:
3 – It was quite a week for young Frenchman Clement Sordet. He gained an invite for this tournament and made the very most of it, ending the week in a tie for second and qualifying for The Open. He only turned professional in July but tasted victory in his fourth start as a pro in the Northern Ireland Open on the Challenge Tour.
4 – Sergio Garcia continued his good run of form. Having won last week in Vietnam, he ended this tournament in a tie for fourth with newly crowned European Rookie of the Year, Byeong-hun An of South Korea.
Thailand Golf Championship
Amata Spring Country Club, Chonburi, Thailand
Purse: $1,000,000, par 72
1 Jamie Donaldson (Wal) 63 68 71 65 267 $180,000
T2 Lee Westwood (Eng) 71 68 64 67 270 $86,500
T2 Clement Sordet (Fra) 71 66 63 70 270 $86,500
T4 Sergio Garcia (Esp) 66 69 70 69 274 $45,500
T4 Byeonghun An (Kor) 69 67 68 70 274 $45,500
6 Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) 68 71 70 66 275 $33,300
T7 S.S.P. Chawrasia (Ind) 72 69 68 67 276 $24,800
T7 Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 69 72 67 68 276 $24,800
T7 Martin Kaymer (Ger) 68 65 72 71 276 $24,800
10 Sunghoon Kang (Kor) 70 68 70 69 277 $19,100
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage