SSP Chawrasia 7th in Thailand but misses British Open berth

Among the other Indians, Shiv Kapur (72), Atwal (72) were tied 24th, while Rashid Khan (72) was tied-41st.

PTI| Updated: Dec 13, 2015, 19:38 PM IST
SSP Chawrasia 7th in Thailand but misses British Open berth

Bangkok: SSP Chawrasia on Sunday came close to earning a berth at the British Open but a couple of bogeys in the end costed him a place at Major as he finished tied seventh at the Thialand Golf Championship here.

Chawrasia went on a birdie-spree between the sixth and 15th with seven birdies at a stretch, before he bogeyed the 16th and 17th.

Among the other Indians, Shiv Kapur (72) and Arjun Atwal (72) were tied 24th, while Rashid Khan (72) was tied-41st.

Jyoti Randhawa (78), who was inside top-10 after three rounds, melted in the third round and ended tied-44th alongside Gaganjeet Bhullar (73).

At the top, Jamie Donaldson held on to his nerves and kept calm to claim the USD 1 million Thailand Golf Championship. He shot seven-under par for the final round to claim a three-stroke win at the Asian Tour's showcase event.

While Donaldson (65) finished at 21-under 267, Lee Westwood (67) and Clement Sordet (70) tied for second at 18-under par.

Chawrasia, who started the day nine shots off the lead, knew he had little, if any, chance of winning the tournament, but he made a bold bid for one of the four British Open spots that were at stake.

At seven-under through 15 holes, his seven birdies having come in the 10-hole stretch from sixth to 15th, and he was very much in line to seal the Open spot, which would have given him his maiden start at a Major.

And then he did what he has done so often this year -- giving away bogeys in the closing. He bogeyed the 16th and 17th and a clutch par on 18th, which did little to save him the spot.

"The back-to-back bogeys on 16th and 17th really cost me a lot, in fact a spot in The Open next year. If not for the bogeys, I would have made it 100% into The Open," said a disappointed Chawrasia.

"I drove it into a thick rough on 16th and on the 17th, I hit a good shot but my approach shot went over the pin and bounced into the water. I had a good save for par on the last so overall it was alright. I had a good run from the sixth and I gave myself good opportunities for birdies.

But it was not to be," added the Indian, who has two three Asian Tour titles, two of them co-sanctioned with European Tour.

Donaldson nailed a clutch putt on the Amata Spring Country Club's signature 17th hole, which features a floating island green, just when it looked like his lead was there for the taking. "It's been a awesome event," said the 40-year-old Donaldson. "The weather's probably been the hardest thing to deal with as it's been so hot all week. But I've had a great week. It's an awesome tournament."

The leading four players, not otherwise exempt, but finishing in top-12 also earned a spot into the 145th British Open Championships in July next year at the Royal Troon. The victory -- the eighth of Donaldson's career -- also secured him one of four places that were up for grabs at The 145th Open Championship, to be played next July at Royal Troon.

He'll now be joined there by Sordet, Westwood and 16-year-old Thai sensation Phachara Khongwatmai, who finished today alone in sixth-place at 13-under to take the fourth place, one place behind world number 12 Sergio Garcia and European Tour Rookie of the Year An Byeong-hun both on 14-under and who were already exempt for The Open.

Phachara took the fourth and last Open berth. Chawrasia, who led Phachara by a shot after 15 holes, was still tied with the young Thai after the 16th. The bogey on 17th by the Indian pushed him to seventh, while Phachara was tied sixth. Chawrasia needed a birdie on 18th to tie with the Thai, in which case the Indian would have got the berth on the basis of his better World Ranking.

World No. 4 Bubba Watson, the top-ranked player in the field, produced a magic moment when acing the fifth -- and the American said it would be a memory he would always cherish as he fired home a five-under 67 to finish the tournament on eight-under-par.