AP News

Nirat breaks Els's Asian Tour scoring mark

GURGAON, India (AP) — Chapchai Nirat of Thailand made a birdie on the final hole Saturday for a 5-under 67 to win the SAIL Open by 11 shots and set an Asian Tour record by finishing at 32-under-par.

Chapchai opened with rounds of 62-62 on the Classic Golf Resort and was never challenged in breaking the Asian Tour record held by Ernie Els, who shot 29-under-par in winning the 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth, Australia.

It is believed to be the lowest 72-hole score to par on any tour in the world. Els set the PGA Tour record with a 31-under-par when he won the 2003 Mercedes Championship by eight shots at Kapalua, which is a par 73.

"My target was to win the title. I was not thinking of the world record," Chapchai said after making his fifth birdie of the round. "I felt no pressure on the final putt, but it was nice to see the ball roll in."

The 25-year-old Thai punched the air, then folded his hands to accept congratulations from the gallery.

Chapchai won for the third time in his career. Richard Moir of Australia and Gaganjit Bhullar of India tied for second at 267.

"I was a bit disappointed that I didn't putt that well in the final round, but winning the title is a happy occasion," Chapchai said. "I'm hoping to take this momentum forward and seek a few more title victories this season. I am now playing the best golf of my life."

Chapchai said he plans to go to PGA Tour qualifying school at the end of the year to try to earn status on the U.S. tour.

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