Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand has won the ISPS Handa Wales Open at the Celtic Manor Resort by a single shot. It was his fifth European Tour victory but his first secured in Europe.
On a testing, wet and windy final day over the Twenty Ten course, it was the diminutive former paratrooper from Southeast Asia who came out on top.
Jaidee began the final round one stroke clear of Holland’s Joost Luiten and Ross Fisher from England. But the 42-year-old Thai struggled on the front nine, out in a three-over par 39. At that stage it was Luiten who had moved to the top of the leaderboard.
Jaidee bounced back in fine fashion though, with three straight birdies from the 10th. Another followed a the 15th and, despite two bogeys in his last three holes, he was able to hold on for the win.
“I’d like to say thank you to all my family, the supporters and the sponsors here,” he said. “Conditions were quite tough for me, not like Thailand!”
Luiten finished in a tie for second with three players who made a significant move through the field on the final day. Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Richard Sterne of South Africa and Dane Thomas Bjorn returned rounds of 67, 68 and 68 respectively to end the week as joint runners-up.
Ross Fisher fell away into a tie for sixth with Paul McGinley. Fisher was penalised a stroke for taking too long over shots on the 11th and 14th holes. Irishman McGinley carded a round of the day 65 that included six birdies and no bogeys.
ISPS Handa Wales Open
The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Wales
31 May – 3 Jun, purse €2,224,000, par 71
1 Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 71 68 67 72 278 €300,000
T2 Gonzalo Fdz-Castano (Esp) 69 41 69 67 279 €119,750
T2 Richard Sterne (RSA) 73 69 69 68 279 €119,750
T2 Thomas Bjorn (Den) 71 72 68 68 279 €119,750
T2 Joost Luiten (Ned) 74 69 64 72 279 €119,750
T6 Paul McGinley (Ire) 72 73 70 65 280 €58,500
T6 Ross Fisher (Eng) 70 66 71 73 280 €58,500
T8 Peter Lawrie (Ire) 72 73 69 67 281 €40,440
T8 Joel Sjoholm (Swe) 69 74 70 68 281 €40,440
T8 Romain Wattel (Fra) 73 72 68 68 281 €40,440
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
PGA Tour – Tiger Woods wins Memorial Tournament