Maiden victory for Nirat

Thailand's Chapchai Nirat secured the first European Tour victory of his career somewhat comfortably, winning the TCL Classic in China by three strokes.

Chapchai Nirat of Thailand won his first European Tour title on Sunday, a solid final round of 71 being enough to secure a comfortable three stroke victory in the TCL Classic with a final total of 22-under par.

Nirat led by five strokes going into the final day at the Yalong Bay GC on China's Hainan Island - largely due to a sensational opening round of 61, which was a course record. The 23 year-old easily held off the spirited challenge of Argentina's Rafael Echenique, who carded a final round of 68 to take second place at -19.

There was further joy for Thai golf fans as Prayad Marksaeng took third place ahead of England's James Heath and Australia's Simon Nash. European Ryder Cup stars Lee Westwood (-12) and Paul McGinley (-9) will have been disappointed to finish so far behind the winner, but there were further promising displays by the up-and-coming British duo of Marc Warren (-12) and Oliver Fisher (-11).

Nirat's maiden victory means he now has the security of a two-year exemption on the European Tour, and he was understandably delighted to have played so consistently over the four days.

"There was a lot of pressure, but I talked to my caddie and we agreed that I just had to play like I had the first three days," he said.

"On the back nine Rafael was getting quite close so I didn't want to make any mistakes. At the end I was very happy and I am delighted to have clinched my first win on the European Tour."


Yalong Bay GC, Hainan Island, China

GB&I unless stated

-22 C Nirat (Tha)

-19 R Echenique (Arg)

-17 P Marksaeng (Tha)

-16 S Nash (Aus), J Heath

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