Marden happy with second

THAILAND - Against a Thai assault, Mardan Mamat stood firm at first.

Thammanoon Sriroj, a veteran who had plied his trade on the Japan Tour, was the first to lauch a charge on Singapore's No. 1 professional at the US$500,000 (S$600,000) King's Cup in Khon Kaen in Thailand.

Later, veteran Thaworn Wiratchant, the Asian Tour's leader on the Order of Merit, mounted a chase.

Overnight leader Mardan, playing with Thaworn, withstood the challenge - though he eventually finished joint-second alongside the gutsy Thai.

In the end, a disappointing bogey on the par-three 17th saw Mardan's grip ease as a 24-year-old relative unknown, Arnond Vongvanij, played superlative golf to take the title and the winner's purse of US$79,250.

Mardan rued the bogey - the result of an errant tee-shot which he pulled to the left.

A chip and two putts, the first from 15 feet, saw him soiling his card with the bogey, his three-under 69 leaving him on a 20-under 268 total.

Said Mardan: "I played well, and no one can moan about a three-under final round score, and four sub-par rounds.

"Yes, I had a chance for victory, but when the winner plays an eight-under round on the final day, he deserves the win."

Mardan, who won US$42,375, added: "There were a lot of contenders, and I knew the status throughout the round as multiple scoreboards kept us informed. I was not under pressure, as I had decided to play my own game from the start."

Mardan enjoyed his eagle on the par-five third, where he used a driver and three-wood to reach the fringe, and chipped in from 20 feet.

Vongvanij, 23, playing in his rookie season on the Asian Tour, certainly played above himself after starting the final round three shots behind Mardan.

He birdied holes two, seven, eight and nine to turn in 32. Then he continued his birdie run on the 11th, 12th, 14th and 17th holes for an eight-under 64.

Mardan shared the lead with Arnond right up to the 16th hole.

The 17th proved decisive, as Arnond, who was playing in the flight in front of Mardan, drained a 10-foot birdie putt to take the outright lead at 22-under.

Final Scores:

266: Arnond Vongvanij 65-70-67-64
268: Thaworn Wiratchant 69-66-65-68, Mardan Mamat 63-70-66-69
269: Thammanoon Sriroj 70-66-68-65, Udorn Duangdecha 65-68-69-67
272: Boonchu Ruangkit 67-67-71-67, Thongchai Jaidee 67-69-69-67, Prom Meesawat 65-69-70-68, Kiradech Aphibarnrat 67-68-68-69, Piya Swangarunporn 70-65-67-70
274: Quincy Quek 69-66-71-68, Simon Griffiths 69-70-67-68, Chris Rodgers 64-69-72-69, Chiang Chen-chih 70-64-71-69, Pawin Ingkhapradit 71-68-66-69, Javi Colomo 65-72-65-72.


278: Lam Chih Bing 69-69-71-69
279: Unho Park 72-66-72-69.

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