Back nine struggles for Smail in Thailand
New Zealand golfer David Smail flirted briefly with the lead but had to settle for a solid rather than spectacular start to the Japan Tour season at the $US1 million ($NZ1.22m) Thailand Open.
Smail was among a host of players to tear up the relatively short Greg Norman-designed layout at the Thana City Golf and Sports Club, six birdies in seven holes on his front nine in yesterday's final round getting him to 20-under par and just one shot off the lead.
But after turning in five-under 31, the 42-year-old struggled on the back nine, mixing three bogeys with one birdie to fall off the pace as others went flying by.
A three-under 69, which followed rounds of 69, 66 and 66, saw Smail finish at 18-under par for the tournament and in an eight-way share of 12th, six shots behind the winner, Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng.
Smail, the New Zealand No 4 and a veteran of the Japanese Tour, collected $17,850 to make a solid start at the Bangkok event.
Brad Shilton got his OneAsia tour season - the tournament was co-sanctioned - under way with a handy cheque, picking up $10,950 after finishing tied for 25th at 16-under par (73, 66, 64, 69).
New Zealand No 1 Mike Hendry, a member of both the Japan and OneAsia tours, pocketed $6320 after sharing 37th at 13-under par (71, 64, 70, 70).
Michael Long, Mark Brown and Gareth Paddison all missed the cut, the latter two despite being three-under par through the first two rounds.
The cut was five-under and 52 players finished the tournament in double figures under par, such was the low scoring nature.
Marksaeng closed with a 64 to win by two shots from Australian Scott Strange, who was runner-up to Hendry at the New Zealand PGA Championship near Queenstown earlier this month.
- © Fairfax NZ News