Chawrasia finishes tied 7th but misses out on British Open spot

Chonburi (Thailand), Dec 13 (IANS) India’s S.S.P. Chawrasia endured two costly late bogeys in the final round of the $1 million Thailand Golf Championship as he on Sunday carded five-under 67 that gave him a credible tied seventh position but it wasn’t enough for qualification to next year’s first Major at the British Open.

Chawrasia’s seven-birdie march (sixth, eighth, ninth, 10th, 13th, 14th and 15th holes) was halted with consecutive bogeys on the 16th and 17th as the 37-year-old finished with a 67 for a 72-hole total of 12-276.

The Asian Tour event at the Amata Spring Country Club offers qualifications to four best performers (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 12 and ties. Accordingly, Welshman Jamie Donaldson, who emerged champion with a 21-under 267 total, England’s Lee Westwood and Clement Sordet of France — both tied second with 18-under 270 total, and young Thai Phachara Khongwatmai (sixth on 13-under 275 qualified for the oldest Major.

And Chawrasia was left to rue the bogeys. “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 percent into The Open. 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,” Chawrasia said in a release on Sunday.

“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.”

However this performance gave him $24,800 that will make firm his fourth position in the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

Among other Indians in the fray, Shiv Kapur (72) and Arjun Atwal (72) shared the 24th spot on 283, while Rashid Khan closed his campiagn with a 72 and finished tied 42nd on 285.

Jyoti Randhawa made a gigantic fall of 35 places to be tied 44th as the former Asian Tour champion struggled for a six-over 78 that gave him a total of two-under 286 — same as compatriot Gaganjeet Bhullar, who carded 73 on Sunday.

Wales’ Donaldson bagged $180,000 and deservedly so as he tasted first triumph of the season in perfect style by closing with a seven-under 65.

Donaldson, who has not tasted victory prior to his triumph here this year, ensured he would not end the year on a winless note when he compiled a winning total of 21-under 267.

Sordet’s magical run ended with a tied second finish after the overnight French leader carded a 70 to share the spoils with former world No.1 Westwood.

South Korea’s Byeonghun An, who will be making his debut at next month’s EurAsia Cup in Malaysia, signed off with a 70 to take the fourth place alongside Spain’s Sergio Garcia on 274 total.

Donaldson showed his resolve in regaining the lead he lost to Sordet on the third day when he came out strongly with three straight birdies. Playing alongside Westwood and Sordet, the Welshman continued his charge with further birdies on seventh and eighth before dropping a shot on ninth to turn in 32.

After making another three birdies on the 10th, 12th and 15, Donaldson appeared to be cruising towards the title until a bogey on the 16th saw his three-shot lead reduced to just one with both his playing partners making birdies on the same hole.

Donaldson recovered brilliantly with another birdie on the 17th and with Westwood and Sordet making a par and bogey respectively on the closing 18the , it was left to the 40-year-old to drain an easy par putt for victory.

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