Thongchai shines at Celtic Manor

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IOL pic june4 golf wales jaidee Associated Press Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee tees off at the second on Day 4 of the Wales Open at Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales.

London - Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee braved driving rain at Celtic Manor to win the Wales Open by one stroke on Sunday.

Playing in a short-sleeved red shirt despite the cold and damp conditions, Thongchai closed with a one-over par 72 for a six under total with a clutch of players on five under.

England's Ross Fisher, part of the European Ryder Cup team that won an epic battle against the United States on the same course in 2010, ended two strokes back after receiving a one-stroke penalty for slow play.

Thongchai, who had four previous wins on the European Tour, all in Asia, held a one-stroke lead going into the final round but dropped a shot at the fourth and leaked two more with a double bogey seven at the ninth which allowed Dutchman Joost Luiten to grab the lead.

However, three consecutive birdies from the 10th and another at the 15th put the Thai back in the driving seat and he claimed victory despite bogeys at 16 and 18.

“Conditions were quite tough for me,” said 42-year-old Thongchai who spent the previous evening at a Thai restaurant in nearby Newport. “I tried to hit everything on the fairway - that's the main thing - then hit the ball on the green. It was very, very tough for me, not like Thailand!”

Dane Thomas Bjorn, Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Luiten and South Africa's Richard Sterne all finished a stroke behind.

Ireland's Paul McGinley blasted up to a share of sixth place with Fisher after a final round of 65.

Fisher was docked a shot after appearing to par the 14th - officials penalising him for slow play after putting the final group of himself, Thongchai and Luiten on the clock. - Reuters

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