Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat held off Sweden’s Robert Karlsson to win the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play at Murcar Links in Aberdeen.

Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat held off Sweden’s Robert Karlsson to win the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play at Murcar Links in Aberdeen.

Aphibarnrat looked to be cruising to victory in the 18-hole final when he claimed the 14th to move three ahead of the Swede. But Karlsson struck back with two birdies in the next three to claw his way back to all-square with one to play.

On the final hole, Karlsson struck the first blow, firing his approach in to within 10 feet of the cup. But Aphibarnrat wasn’t to be outdone; the 26-year-old followed Karlsson in with a superb second, ending just a few feet from the hole.

When Karlsson missed his birdie effort, Aphibarnrat had a putt to take the inaugural Match Play title. He rolled it home and claimed his first European Tour victory outside of Asia. Earlier this year, he was the winner in the Shenzen International title in China.

“I was striking the ball well and hitting it so good on the front nine, but then I lost a bit of energy and control, he said. “I started pulling some drives but I have to say I putted very well today and sank a lot of important putts – especially the putt to win. I didn’t have too high expectations this week but I just came here and tried to enjoy the whole experience of playing in Scotland.”

Karlsson, although disappointed with missing out on the victory, could take the positives from the week.

“It was much better than I expected coming in here, he said. “Obviously getting that close and getting back, obviously it stings a bit, but it is part of being a professional golfer.”

In the third place playoff it was England’s David Howell who came out on top. In another exciting match, he defeated home favourite Marc Warren by one hole.

David Howell on how to hit your hybrids:

Howeller was full of praise for this first Paul Lawrie Match Play contest.

“It is a great buzz. I’ve really enjoyed it and I was looking out for a match play tournament to come back out on the Tour for many years,” he said. “It has been a great week and the players have really enjoyed it.”

Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play
Murcar Links, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Jul 30 – Aug 2
Purse: €1,000,000, par 70

1    Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha)        €171,000
2    Robert Karlsson (Swe)            €116,500
3    David Howell (Eng)            €67,500
4    Marc Warren (Sco)            €55,000
T5    Richie Ramsay (Sco)            €38,500
T5    Chris Wood (Eng)                €38,500
T5    Tyrrell Hatton (Eng)            €38,500
T5    Michael Hoey (NIR)            €38,500

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage