Golf: Kiradech wins Paul Lawrie Matchplay on final hole

Golf: Kiradech wins Paul Lawrie Matchplay on final hole
This handout photograph taken and received from the OneAsia Tour on June 14, 2015 shows Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand hitting a shot during the final round of the Thailand Open golf championship at the Siam Country Club Plantation Course in Pattaya.
PHOTO: AFP

ABERDEEN, United Kingdom - Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat won his second European Tour title of the year on Sunday when he defeated Robert Karlsson on the final hole to clinch the Paul Lawrie Matchplay.

The 26-year-old Thai, already a two-time tour winner after capturing the 2013 Malaysia Open and this year's Shenzhen International, was three up with four holes to play.

However, the Swede hit back on the 15th, 16th and 17th to set-up a dramatic last hole duel.

Kiradech held his nerve on the 18th where he putted from four feet just after Karlsson had dragged his birdie attempt wide.

"My next step was to win in Europe, so I am happy and so proud of myself," said Kiradech, whose burly frame has led him to be dubbed "Asia's John Daly" in honour of the big-hitting, two-time major winner from the United States.

"I was striking the ball well and hitting it so good on the front nine, but then I lost a bit of energy and control.

"I started pulling some drives but I have to say I putted very well today and sank a lot of important putts - especially the putt to win which was very short but it was great to see it hit the middle of the hole.

"I didn't have too high expectations this week but I just came here and tried to enjoy the whole experience of playing in Scotland." Kiradech, who ended hopes of a home win when he saw off Scotland's Marc Warren in the last four, took a two hole lead in the final with birdies on three of the first four holes.

That advantage increased at the sixth as Karlsson twice tangled with the heavy rough.

Karlsson reduced the deficit to just one hole after firing birdies at the eighth and ninth but his Thai rival took the 11th and 14th to return to three up.

Despite the defeat, Karlsson was pleased with his display.

"It was much better than I expected coming in here. I can take a lot of positives out of it," he said.

David Howell recovered from his narrow semi-final defeat to Karlsson to beat Warren by one hole in the third-place play-off.

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