An amateur golfer from Thailand has become the youngest male player to win one of golf’s major tours.
Ratchanon Chantananuwat, 15, delivered a seven-under-par 65 to finish on 20 under to clinch the $750,000 top prize at the inaugural Trust Golf Asian Mixed Cup at Siam Country Club’s Waterside Course in Pattaya, Thailand.
Over the weekend, Chantananuwat defeated Korean golfer Kim Joo-hyung, 19, who returned a 64. Kim, the current Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, received $135,000 as a consolation prize.
At 15 years and 37 days, Chantananuwat broke the youngest winner record previously set by Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa, who was 15 years and eight months when he won the 2007 Munsingwear Open KSB Cup in Japan. Thailand’s Chinnarat Phadungsil, who won the 2005 Double A International Open when he was 17 years and five days old, was the previous youngest champion of the Asian Tour.
During his post-event interview, Chantananuwat said that while he found the event exciting, he “definitely felt a lot of pressure.”
The young athlete, whose recent win has made international headlines, noted that while he plans to compete in the upcoming SEA Games in Vietnam, he is not planning to become a professional golfer in the near future.
“This has been my plan all along,” he shared. “I enjoy learning… I’ve talked to a lot of players, and everyone’s pretty much been saying to me, ‘Go to college, it’s worth the while.’”
Chantananuwat, who is currently studying at Shrewsbury International School Bangkok, also became the fifth amateur to win on the Asian Tour.
The Asian Mixed Cup and the upcoming Asian Mixed Stableford Challenge are part of the Trust Golf Asian Mixed Series that is being held jointly on the Asian Tour and Ladies European Tour (LET). Both events feature 60 LET golfers and 60 Asian Tour golfers, including Wales’ Becky Brewerton, a multiple winner on the LET, and the United States’ Sihwan Kim, the current leader of the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit.