Chile’s Costa seals emphatic wire-to-wire win at MahaSamutr Masters

Chile’s Costa seals emphatic wire-to-wire win at MahaSamutr Masters
Chile's Antonio Costa with the trophy after winning the MahaSamutr Masters golf tournament in Hua Hin, Thailand, on Thursday. (AN photo)
Updated 19 May 2016

Chile’s Costa seals emphatic wire-to-wire win at MahaSamutr Masters

Chile’s Costa seals emphatic wire-to-wire win at MahaSamutr Masters

HUA HIN, Thailand: Antonio Costa left the field marvelling at his sublime form this week when he completed an emphatic wire-to-wire victory in the MahaSamutr Masters, sponsored by PACE Development Corporation Plc, on Thursday.

Starting the day by a good six shots in front, the 27-year-old Chilean closed with a 68 to reach 15-under for the tournament at Banyan Golf Club, three clear of Venezuela’s Wolmer Murillo, who made the biggest charge of the day, carding a fluent seven-under 65 to keep things interesting.

India’s Rayhan Thomas continued his impressive run this season, following up his second-place finish last week at Mountain Creek with another creditable third to round off the Thailand leg of the tour on a high.

It was Costa who walked off the Banyan golf course with a grin of pride lighting his face. “I am really excited to win my first event outside Chile. I have really worked hard to get this point,” said Costa after receiving the winner’s trophy from Kajohnphob Teepaganont of Pace Development Corporation.

Mohamed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the MENA Golf Tour, His Excellency Pasan Teparak, Stacey Walton of GLS Asia, and Korrakoch Charoenplung of Pace Development Corporation were also present.

Costa started strongly, reeling off five birdies, including three in a row from the sixth to make the turn at five-under. A wrong selection of club resulted in a bogey on the 16th, but the job had already been done.

“I played perfect golf on the front nine and did not make much mistakes coming home. I think I played solid golf all week. My putting, in particular, was pretty good — and that made the difference.

“I played one shot at a time and stayed focused which kept me going,” he said. “It’s my first season on the tour, but I am loving it and feeling at home after making so many new friends,” said Costa who has become the second Latin American after Murillo to win a MENA Golf Tour event.

Murillo, six back at the start of the day, needed something special to track down Costa. He did produce the best round of the week, but, in the end, it was not good enough to stop a rampaging Costa.

“Super happy with my performance,” enthused the 35-year-old Venezuelan, the winner of last week’s Mountain Creek Open by Golf Citizen.

“I felt like I had a plenty of opportunities to score, but never mind. Shooting a 65 in the final round was special. I really want to thank John Wither, a PGA professional, for the all the hard work he has done with me. My confidence is on a high which is great.”

India’s Thomas mixed six birdies with three bogeys in his final round 69 to finish solo third on eight-under — and on top in the amateur division for the third time in a row this season.

“It was a good week. Played some good golf. I nearly aced the par-3, 15th, which was the highlight of my final round,” said the 16-year-old Dubai-based prodigy, who is supported by the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation.

Elsewhere, Jordan Garnish returned a final round 68 to finish fourth, one ahead of his fellow Englishman Stuart Archibald as Scotland’s Paul Doherty, Fredrik Lindblom of Sweden and Miles Tunnicliff, a two-time winner on the European Tour, shared sixth on five under.

The MENA Golf Tour will travel to South Africa for the first time next month for a three-event series, starting with the South to East Challenge to be held at Centurion, Pretoria, from June 7.

An initiative of the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation, the MENA Golf Tour was created in 2011 with the aim of developing golf in the region. It is affiliated to R&A, the worldwide golf governing body based in the home of golf, St. Andrews, and the Arab Golf Federation and enjoys the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status.

Multiple European Tour starts, including the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the Hassan II Trophy and the Maybank Championship Malaysia in addition to full playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour and exemptions into the Final Stage of the Asian Tour Q-School for the leading three professionals are some of the added incentives for the MENA Golf Tour members.