BANGKOK (AFP) – A Thai aged 14 became the youngest male on Sunday to win a major professional golf tournament, organisers said, with a stunning display that left players twice his age trailing in his wake.
Pachara Khongwatmai, who was given the week off school to play in the Singha Hua Hin Open on the ASEAN PGA Tour, marched to a four-stroke victory with a final round four-under-par score of 67.
The win, which nets him $65,000, makes him the youngest male player to claim victory in a professional golf tournament, organisers said.
That accolade was previously held by Japan's Ryo Ishikawa who was 15 when he clinched the 2007 Munsingwear Open KSB Cup.
New Zealand's Lydia Ko, who was 14 years and 248 days old when she clinched the New South Wales Open last year, is the youngest female golfer to win a major tournament.
Tour organisers were unable on Sunday night to confirm Pachara's birth date, so it is not known whether he is younger that Ko was at the time of her win.
But his victory also makes him the first amateur to win on the ASEAN PGA Tour.
"I am really, really happy to win against so many top players," Phachara, who had to pre-qualify for the tournament, was quoted by the organisers as saying. "My putting was the key and I also worked very hard with my caddie. We planned everything carefully."
His performance, finishing with a four-round aggregate of 13 under par at Thailand's oldest golf course left his opponents dumbfounded.
"It is amazing to see a kid play like that," said fellow Thai golfer Prom Meesawat. "I had a bogey-free round but look at what he did!"
Pachara began playing golf when he was nine and practices each day after class.
In the press release issued after his win he said his thoughts were primarily on catching up with his studies.
"Tomorrow is a public holiday and the first thing I need to do is call my friends and catch up on my homework," he said.