Simon Yates chalked up a first European Tour top-ten finish in nearly nine years as Scott Hend made amends for tasting a dose of disappointment in the same event last year to win the True Thailand Classic.
Hend, a 43-year-old Australian, carded a closing 68 at Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin to finish with an 18-under-par 270 total, one shot ahead of home hope Piya Swangarunporn, who had surged through the field with a course-record 63. The success, his second on the European Tour after making the breakthrough in the 2014 Hong Kong Open, was redemption for Hend, who had also held the lead after 54 holes in this tournament 13 months ago before finishing second to one of his compatriots, Andrew Dodt.
“It would be nice to win again [in 2016] and to try to qualify for the Open and US Open,” said Florida-based Hend after claiming a victory that is set to lift him to a career high inside the world’s top 80.
Yates, who has been based in Thailand for just over 20 years and currently lives 50 yards from the tenth tee on this course, finished joint seventh on 11-under after signing off with a 70.
It was his best effort on the European Tour since claiming third spot in the BMW Asian Open in 2007, the same year he tied for seventh in the Maybank Malaysian Open.
The majority of his 70-odd appearances on the circuit have come in co-sanctioned events with the Asian Tour, where he is a two-time winner.
This effort earned Yates, a Glaswegian who had a spell at Royal Burgess before following Kenny Walker, one of the Barnton club’s most successful players, out to the Far East, a pay-day worth close to £32,000. Five shots behind Hend at the start of the final round, Yates made an early thrust with three birdies in the opening four holes before his momentum was halted by a bogey at the fifth. He parred every hole thereafter.
Marc Warren’s closing 72 for an eight-under total earned him a share of 19th spot while Scott Jamieson ended up joint 35th on six-under following a closing 70. “There was quite a lot of good stuff, but it was pretty frustrating making quite a few bogeys with short irons and not holing many putts over the week,” said Warren of his performance.
Elsewhere, Carly Booth and Kylie Walker both signed off with 69s – their best efforts of the week – to finish alongside each other in joint 37th in the Women’s World Championship at Mission Hills in China. Pamela Pretswell (72) ended up joint 55th, though it was a good effort in making it the distance after she’d opened with a 78.
In a tournament dominated by South Koreans, world No 35 Lee Jung-Min claimed her eighth career title with a one-stroke victory over compatriots Lee Seung-Hyun, Kim Bo-Kyung and Ji Han Sol.
A final-round 66 for a nine-under-par 279 total was just enough for 24-year-old Lee to hold on as her closest challengers all blew their chances in damp and testing conditions on the Olazabal Course.