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Thai star Thaworn Wiratchant secured a record-equaling 13th Asian Tour title with a battling three-shot victory at the Queen's Cup on Sunday. The 45-year-old veteran held off the combined challenges from Bangladeshi Siddikur and reigning Asian number one Juvic Pagunsan, clinching his first title in nearly two years with a glorious eagle at the last hole for a three-under-par 68 at a blustery Santiburi Samui Country Club.
Thaworn, who was also victorious in Samui in the 2008 Bangkok Airways Open, matched countryman Thongchai Jaidee's record number of triumphs on the region's elite circuit with a winning total of seven-under-par 277 and earned US$47,550.
Siddikur, chasing a second Asian Tour title, missed a costly par putt from two feet at the 15th hole while he was one ahead of Thaworn and could not prevent the Thai hero from racing home to victory with a five-foot birdie on 16 before his 12-foot eagle conversion at the 18th hole.
Pagunsan closed with a solid 68 to finish tied second in what is the 11th leg of this season's Asian Tour.
The week belonged to Thaworn, who entered the Queen's Cup in hot form after winning two domestic tournaments and another in Laos over the past month. "This means a lot as it's the first time I have won the Queen's Cup as an Asian Tour event," said a delighted Thaworn.
"There was pressure from the first tee as I didn't hit a good tee shot and made bogey. I'm very happy as I have worked hard in the past few weeks. My experience helps with the mental game. It helps me calm down and not get nervous. I can control that."
Tied for the third round lead with Siddikur, countryman Varut Chomchalam, who eventually finished tied sixth after a 73 and Filipino teenager Miguel Tabuena, who settled for joint 10th after a 76, Thaworn battled the elements and a dogged Siddikur all day.
But his experience came through in the end. "This week, it was tiring, it was tough. You fight with the course and conditions. The turning point was the 15th hole when Siddikur missed his putt. Any time you have a chance, you have to make birdie and I did (on 16).
"On 18, I was teeing off first and I couldn't afford to make any mistake. I hit a good drive and I was quite confident. I could then smile after that," said Thaworn, who was decked in his trademark all-black Sunday outfit.
The straight-hitting Siddikur, who achieved his career first top-10 in the Queen's Cup two years ago, was disappointed his putter went cold on the back nine. He missed a short par putt on 10 and another makeable birdie chance on 11 but his title hopes eventually ended with the bad miss on 15.
"I'm really disappointed. I was almost there. Unfortunately, the last moment, I don't what happened. On 15, I don't know what happened. I was gone after that. I couldn't make birdie," said Siddikur.
"I was trying to be aggressive but my ball striking was a bit off even though I was in the lead after 13 holes. I just played my own game, fairway, greens, fairway greens, but messed up on the greens."
Pagunsan produced some glorious golf to move into contention but was eventually forced to settle for tied second place. "It's a great round. The winds were too strong. You just have to keep your focus on every shot. That's what I did today," said the smooth-swinging Filipino.
Scores after round 4
277 - Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 70-67-72-68.
280 - Juvic PAGUNSAN (PHI) 75-65-72-68, SIDDIKUR (BAN) 70-68-71-71.
281 - Himmat RAI (IND) 70-72-72-67, Guido VAN DER VALK (NED) 70-72-69-70.
282 - Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 69-75-69-69, Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 71-68-72-71, Varut CHOMCHALAM (THA) 72-71-66-73.
284 - Boonchu RUANGKIT (THA) 67-74-73-70.
285 - Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA) 76-70-75-64, Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 67-70-72-76.
286 - Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA) 71-73-71-71, Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 68-72-74-72, BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR) 68-73-70-75, Jonathan MOORE (USA) 72-72-67-75.
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