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Thailand’s teenage sensation Ratchanon wins gold in Pattaya

Thailand’s teenage sensation Ratchanon Chantananuwat cinched an unprecedented victory at the inaugural Asian Mixed Cup Sunday, becoming the youngest-ever winner of one of golf’s major Tours.

The 15-year-old Ratchanon sealed his win with a birdie on the final day of the $750,000 purse competition at the Waterside Course at Siam Country Club in Pattaya, having seen off 19-year-old Kim Joo-hyung, who took second.

“I got to be honest, I got pretty lucky,” said Ratchanon, adding: “I definitely have a lot of people to thank.”

The competition — the first of its kind in Asia — had 60 female players from the Ladies European Tour (LET) and 60 Asian Tour male golfers teeing off, with the women starting from different tees but otherwise level terms.

Ratchanon, who has balanced homework with competitions this summer, is only the fifth amateur — and first since 2009 — to win on the Asian Tour.

His maturity was on display during the tournament as he kept his calm throughout, playing seven-under-par 65 to finish on 20 under.

A stream of seven birdies saw the teen play the final hole with a one-shot lead, securing his historic win with a final birdie.

At 15 years and 37 days, Ratchanon is now the youngest player to win a major tournament, besting Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa who in 2007 was 15 years and eight months when he won the Japan Tour’s Munsingwear Open KSB Cup.

The Thai teenager has been turning heads since the end of last year, making the cut in all six events he entered and placing third at the Singapore International.

At second place, South Korea’s Kim gave a solid performance only wobbling with a bogey on the 17th hole when he found water, before spectacularly recovering and ending his run with an eagle, carding 64.

“Let’s face it, TK deserves this,” said Kim, referring to Ratchanon by his nickname. “There is no stopping him.”

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