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Thai phenom wins Vietnam Amateur Open at Danang Golf Club

DANANG, Vietnam (June 12, 2011) -- On a day when the temperature rose above 35 degrees Celsius on Vietnam's Central Coast, Thailand's Chanachox Dejpiratana rode a red-hot putter to a sizzling 68 and a 6-stroke victory in the Vietnam Amateur Open at Danang Golf Club.

Aptly nicknamed "Tap", the 17-year-old sensation left himself tap-in par putts all morning en route to his lowest round of the tournament, held for the first time at Danang's GC's lauded Dunes Course.

Tap had a chance to equal the course record -- set earlier in the day by Cambodia's Patrick Tom -- with a birdie on the final hole, but his 12-foot putt lipped out. It was one of the few errors he made in becoming the only player in the 120-man field to finish under par (-2) for the event.

Singapore's Marc Ong Chong was next best, with a four-day total of 292 (4-over).

"I think all aspects of my game were very good today," said Tap, a Chiang Mai native whose next stop is the Callaway Junior World Golf Championships in San Diego (USA) next month. "I wasn't hitting the ball all that great with my driver to start the tournament, but I made some corrections with my takeaway and that helped a lot. Today, I tried to be confident with the putter and rolled it great."

The closest Vietnamese challenger was Nguyen Van Thong, who carded a final-round 70 to finish in fifth place overall but 13 shots clear of countryman Lau A Bau. Thong has claimed the national title twice in seven attempts.

On the women's side, 16-year-old Ngo Bao Nghi hoisted the Vietnam Ladies National Championship trophy for the third consecutive year. Her 226 total was 24 lower than runner-up's Le Anh Nha Truc's performance.

"Danang Golf Club is really the perfect venue for a tournament like this," said tournament director Jeff Puchalski, of Fore Golf Asia. "It tests every aspect of a player's game, makes you think and is beautiful, set as it is right next to the ocean.

"It's also so different from what players in Asia are used to, and the scores reflected that. They improved as the tournament progressed -- once everyone became more comfortable hitting off tight lies and managing the wind."

Hosting rights to the Vietnam Amateur Open and Vietnam Ladies National Championship were awarded to Danang GC in April, less than six months after America's GOLF Magazine tabbed it one of the top 15 venues to open internationally in 2010.

The year-old facility beat out other suitors largely because of its Dunes Course, a rugged layout designed by golf legend Greg Norman and lauded by a suite of the world's most influential golf publications.

VIETNAM AMATEUR OPEN - Top 10 finishers

1. Chanachox Dejpiratana (Thailand) - 286 (-2)
2. Marc Ong Chong (Singapore) - 292 (+4)
3. Somprad Rattanasuwan (Thailand) - 294 (+6)
4. Patrick Tom (Cambodia) - 296 (+8)
5. Nguyen Van Thong (Vietnam) - 298 (+10)
6. Attachai Jaichalad (Thailand) - 301 (+13)
7. Lau A Bau (Vietnam) - 311 (+23)
8. Andrew Hung Pham (Vietnam) - 314 (+26)
9. Pham Minh Tuan (Vietnam) - 315 (+27)
10.Vo Ta Thuy (Vietnam) - 315 (+27)