Amazing Ruangkit wins again
The seemingly unstoppable Boonchu Ruangkit has done it again – this time in the Berenberg Bank Masters.
The seemingly unstoppable Boonchu Ruangkit was again in a league of his own on Sunday when he rallied to win his third European Senior Tour title in as many weeks at the Berenberg Bank Masters at the Fancourt Links in George, South Africa.
In winning again in just his seventh European Senior Tour start, the amazing Ruangkit set the record for the quickest three wins .
He also matched the 1997 record for three consecutive victories held by Tommy Horton.
This just 14 days after his 21 under par victory at the Thailand Senior Masters, where he set a new record for the lowest 54-hole total in European Senior Tour history, and bettered Horton’s previous biggest winning margin of nine shots by two.
On a calm day on The Links, Ruangkit overturned a three-shot deficit at the start of the final round with smart decisions and some nearly flawless golf to post a four-under-par 68, his winning score of 216 handing the 53-year-old a three-shot victory over South Africa’s Bobby Lincoln and Scotsman Sam Torrance.
Lincoln led the South African challenge with his closing 70 to finish with a level par 220 alongside joint-overnight leader Torrance, who struggled to a 75 on the closing day.
Ruangkit was virtually unknown in world golf at the start of this year, but he is now very much the new force in senior golf.
“I think we have a new rival on the scene and we will have our work cut if he continues to play like this,” said Torrance, who is defending his Order of Merit title this season.
Ruangkit came to Fancourt in confident mood, but admits The Links made him work hard for his victory.
“This one was the hardest,” he said of a tournament highlighted by the gusting winds of the second round. Ruangkit posted a 78 in that second round.
On the final day, he went out with a single birdie amidst a run of pars. “I dropped on the 10th and made birdie on 11. Then I made birdies on 13, 14 and 15, but even then I didn’t think about winning,” he said.
“All I could think was to keep the ball in the fairway all the time, because this course is very, very hard. I don’t know courses like this and it didn’t suit my game. After the second round, I didn’t give myself a chance.
“If the weather was the same, maybe I would have gone home already,” joked Ruangkit, who said it was a great honour to win in South Africa.
“I have met Gary Player and played with him all over the world, but it is an honour for me to win at this course that he designed. I had to fight very hard for this victory, but now I am very happy. And perhaps after playing in this bad weather, I will do better in England the rest of the season.”
Lincoln, who began the final round five off the pace after rounds of 74 and 75, birdied the seventh but dropped at the ninth and 10th. The 57-year-old said a birdie at the 13th got him going coming down the home stretch.
“I played nice all week but I made some very dubious decisions – wrong clubs, wrong spots to hit to,” said Lincoln, who birdied the 15th and 16th and holed a tricky 20-footer for birdie at the 18th for his 70.
“That last birdie was an important one; it was for a lot of money,” said the 2008 Jersey Seniors Classic winner.
“If I can keep on striking it like this, I could definitely win again this year.”
Torrance, the joint overnight leader with Angel Franco of Paraguay at two under, slipped to two over after the first five holes, but recovered well from the disastrous start to finish with a 75.
“I had such a horrific start. I dropped four shots in three holes, but I dug in and the birdies came at the 12th and 13th.
“It was difficult because Boonchu went crazy on the back nine. He’s some player; he is simply fantastic.”
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