Singapore: Young Thai golfer Danthai Boonma's maiden win on the Asian Tour at the World Classic Championship helped him jump 109 places to be 21st in the Order of Merit on Monday.
Much was expected of the 19-year-old, who won two gold medals at the 2013 South East Asian (SEA) Games, when he turned professional in November last year and he duly delivered when he notched a fine victory in his rookie season on the Asian Tour at the Laguna National on Sunday.
He followed in the footsteps of three-time Order of Merit champion Thongchai Jaidee by earning a Tour card through Qualifying School where he finished tied seventh in January.
He struggled in his first year on the region’s premier Tour but the decision to revert to his old swing worked like a charm as he defeated Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung by one-shot at the tricky World Classic course.
He was tutored by the late Natpasit Chokthanasart, nicknamed Pro Jew, who was also the coach for 2013 Order of Merit winner Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Prom Meesawat before he died two years ago. Since his passing, Boonma has never worked with another coach.
It was evident that the young Thai needed a huge lift in his career and it came at the World Classic Championship. His victory earned him $135,000.
“I haven’t played well since earning my Asian Tour card earlier this year so I am really happy with this win. It is a great boost of confidence, especially playing in my first year as a professional,” said Boonma.
With his Tour card safely secured for the next two years, Danthai has now set his sights on representing Team Asia in the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM in January, 2016.
“I have seen how our Thai players played in the last EurAsia Cup. I want to be like them too. I will keep trying to get good results so as to put myself in a better position to qualify,” he said.
India's Anirban Lahiri continues to lead comfortably at the top of the Order of Merit with earnings of $1,139,084. Scott Hend of Australia, winner of the Venetian Macao Open, trails with $647,453 in second place while Andrew Dodt is in third position with earnings of $427,631.
S.S.P. Chawrasia of India stayed in fourth place on $304,922 followed by Thongchai Jaidee ($268,820) of Thailand, K.T. Kim ($249,000) of South Korea, Danny Chia ($238,966) of Malaysia and Paul Peterson ($237,705) of the United States.
The Asian Tour will now travel to the $1 million Resorts World Manila Masters which starts on Thursday at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club.