220227-RD4-Chan with the car he won for a hole-in-one; Chan with the Royal’s Cup and Rashid Khan in action during his 62 in the final round. Pics: Paul Lakatos/ Asian Tour
Kanchanaburi, Thailand, February 27: Rashid Khan shot one of his best rounds on the Asian Tour, while rising from T-47 to Tied-sixth on the final day of the US$400,000 Royal’s Cup on Sunday. Rashid, a two-time winner on Asian Tour, blazed the Grand Prix Country Club with 10-under 62 as he totalled 15-under after being 5-under following the third round. Rashid’s best on Asian Tour is 11-under 61 which he carded while winning the 2014 SAIL-SBI Open on Asian Tour.
S Chikkarangappa, who started the day at 12-under and in T-5th place, carded 2-under 70 and slipped to T-12. Rahil Gangjee (69) ended T-37 at 9-under, while Aman Raj (71) and Viraj Madappa (70) were T-45th at 7-under.
Chinese-Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang completed a magnificent wire-to-wire victory in what was a very profitable week for him. It was his second victory on the Asian Tour in the space of three months and fourth in total. He also had a hole in one in the tournament, which won him a car. The win should also move him up by around 150 spots from his current World ranking of 388.
Chan closed with a four-under-par 68 to finish with an impressive winning total of 23-under for a three-shot win over Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana and American Sihwan Kim. Sadom also returned a 68 while Sihwan fired a 70, in the second event of the season on the Asian Tour.
For Rashid, this result showed a return to form after a superb 2019, when he had six Top-10s on Asian Tour. In 2020 he had two more Top-10s in the three starts in truncated Asian Tour schedule. In six starts since the Asian Tour started late last year, Rashid has missed just one cut at Blue Canyon but is the first Top-10.
After making the cut on the line this week, Rashid shot 70 before catching fire in the final round.
Rashid starting from the tenth birdied three in a row from 12th to 14th and added a fourth birdie on 18th. With three in a row from first to third and three more from fifth to seventh, it meant seven birdies in a span of eighth holes from 18th to seventh. He 10-under at that stage but with two closing pars, he ended at 62.
Chikka had no bogeys but had only two birdies on a day when he missed a bunch of chances. He was T-12.
Thailand’s Nitithorn Thippong and Bio Kim from Korea, finished three strokes further back, in a tie for fourth after rounds of 66 and 68 respectively.
Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond closed with a 65 in a group of players tied sixth to suggest the 2019 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion is starting to rediscover his best form.
It looked like being a much closer finish to the event when Chan started the day with a one-shot lead over Sihwan before the American drew level with him on 21 under after nine holes.
But Sihwan bogeyed four in row from 10 before Chan took control with three birdies on the trot from the 13th to take a commanding five-shot lead.
Sihwan and Sadom both made birdie on the last two holes to draw closer, but it was not enough to stop the impressive Chan.
The Asian Tour heads to the inaugural US$1.5 million International Series Thailand next week at Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin. This is the first of 10 new International Series of events.
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