May 30, 2023


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Thongchai Jaidee wins for first time on PGA Tour Champions


MADISON, Wisc. — The leaderboard was crowded all through the final round Sunday for the duration of the PGA Tour Champions’ American Family Insurance plan Championship at College Ridge. At a single issue, nine golfers were being tied for very first.

Thongchai Jaidee, a previous paratrooper in the Royal Thai Army, calmly waited for his option and then pounced to the declare the title.

Jaidee prevented a full disaster on No. 16 and then took sole possession of the direct with a birdie putt from close to 20 ft on the future hole. The 52-yr-old then created par on the 18th gap to come to be the first player from Thailand to win on the tour. He gained with a 14-less than 202 overall right after capturing a 68 on Sunday.

“Great match right here,” Jaidee mentioned. “I played reliable, sound, good week. I took 1 mistake on 16, hit the 3 and lost the ball. We make very good bogey and check out to get my prepare. Holed a fantastic putt on 17 and the game adjusted. I believe my self-confidence on the putting, which is why assisted me a good deal for this 7 days.”

Jaidee’s steeliness should not arrive as a surprise to those people common with his background. He started off enjoying golf as a 16-calendar year-outdated in Thailand. He performed more as soon as he joined the military, which had a crew. Jaidee didn’t turn professional until finally he turned 30. He won 21 moments on the European and Asian Excursions.

“I assume the Army helped me a good deal,” Jaidee claimed. “My Military teaching is extremely hard, make it a ton (more) easy to engage in golf and exercise.”

Jaidee gained back his PGA Tour Champions card by qualifying school in December. He had lost his tour rights in the 2020-21 year when the pandemic limited his travel from Thailand and he skipped a large chunk of the program.

“I feel he’s the very first paratrooper to win on tour as perfectly,” Madison’s Jerry Kelly reported. “I think he’s magnificent. I believe he’s a genuinely terrific person.

“Not versus anybody else, but he warrants it following what he went by means of and the tour using his exemption absent a minor little bit. That is a great deal of fortitude that he’s displaying coming back from a little something like that and declaring, very well, this is the way I have to do it, I have to get my exemption back again.”

Substantially to the delight of area admirers, Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker vaulted themselves into competition on the closing working day with powerful engage in.

Kelly had a few birdies on his entrance 9 and was tied for the guide, but he could not pull off his 3rd straight victory in the function.

Kelly carded a 5-under 67 and finished two shots driving Jaidee, but he lamented lacking a few birdie putts on Nos. 16-18.

“I struck it properly,” Kelly stated. “I putted perfectly they just didn’t go in this time. I gave myself some excellent seems to be.

“I come into this week every single calendar year imagining, yeah, this is heading to be my yr, I want to knock this one off, and then I usually conclusion up here trying to rally at the very conclusion,” Stricker explained. “I’ve acquired to get off to greater starts.”

Stricker will get a 7 days to rest right before the U.S. Senior Open up Championship at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It is been an eventful calendar year for Stricker with a Ryder Cup victory, a mysterious ailment and then a golf comeback that involved a big victory in the Areas Custom in May well.

“I’ve obtained a different standpoint on lifestyle and all types of distinctive points now,” Stricker stated. “I nevertheless have some battles to kind of get over. I have still received to get stronger and proceed to perform on that portion of it.

“I’m just thankful to be equipped to do this, to be in a position to go on to participate in, some thing that I genuinely appreciate to do. And yeah, so it is arrive a very long techniques and the ups and the downs in these last 6 months had been one thing else, but I’m glad wherever I’m at now.”


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