Thai teen poised for Blue Canyon Classic glory – Asian Development Tour

Thai teen poised for Blue Canyon Classic glory

Denwit Boriboonsub

The fairytale rise and rise of Denwit Boriboonsub continues apace with the Thai on the cusp of a maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) title at storied Blue Canyon Country Club.

The 18-year-old from Pattaya has carded successive 66s on the stunning Lakes layout at the famous Phuket club to sit alone atop the Blue Canyon Classic leaderboard at -10.

Boriboonsub will start the final round of the 54-hole Beautiful Thailand Swing event co-sanctioned by the MENA Tour with a single shot buffer over Malaysia’s in-form Shahriffuddin Ariffin, fellow Thai Witchayapat Sinsrang, India’s Kartik Sharma and Swede Filip Lundell who is incredibly contending despite a scary scooter crash on the eve of the tournament.

India’s Udayan Mane, the first-round leader, carded an even-par 71 on Saturday to remain eight-under for the championship and right in the mix for what shapes as a multi-player shootout for the title. As many as 35 players are within five strokes of Boriboonsub.

The teen pace-setter is among a catalogue of talented young Thais making their way in the Asian Tour eco-system. He sprung to international prominence with a joint runner-up finish behind compatriot Phachara Khongwatmai at the Laguna Phuket Championship on the Asian Tour in December, a result that netted him a healthy US$74,333 payday.

It also helped propel Boriboonsub inside the world’s top-500 for the first time. Indeed the Thai has soared from 1,353rd place in the OWGR to 721st after claiming the All Thailand Golf Tour’s Singha Chiang Mai Open last November, and then 487th after his Laguna title charge. That’s a mighty impressive 866 place jump up the rankings.

He got as low as 471st as recently as another top-five ATGT finish in January and while he is back out to 487th, he’ll be hoping to achieve a career-best ranking come Sunday afternoon.

Boriboonsub’s game is clearly trending in the right direction again. He quickly rebounded from a missed cut in the first of the four BTS events, the Laguna Phuket Challenge to finish -9 and in a share of 7th at the Laguna Phuket Cup which finished last Tuesday. He’s now 29 under par for his last five rounds on the ADT.

“I think it’s the rhythm of my swing and game plan and also my mindset,” Boriboonsub said of his form reversal after mixing six birdies and a bogey.

“I struggled for two months in January and February but it is coming right. Today’s round was pretty solid. I hit a lot of fairways and the irons are sharp.”

Ariffin will be particularly motivated in tomorrow’s final threesome. The 27-year-old Malaysian lost a playoff to Thai Sarun Sirithon last Tuesday after taking a four-stroke lead into the final round of the Laguna Phuket Cup.

But maybe they should all be wary of the injured golfer Lundell who added a gritty 67 to his gutsy 66 in the first round. The Swede is bandaged heavily after falling from his motorised scooter after a meal out in Phuket but is clearly determined not to waste what is just his second cut made in his third ADT start this season.

The cut was made at -3, the lowest of the BTS so far.

Filip Lundell

Patched up after a painful scooter crash, Filip Lundell finds himself in contention at the Blue Canyon Classic. Picture by Kent Gray / MENA Tour.

From scooter crash to contender, Filip Lundell soldiers on

When Filip Lundell was violently fish-tailed off his rented motor scooter three days ago, he regained his feet in a relative instant and figured he’d been the pilot in a very lucky escape.

A glance at his shocked pillion passenger and his own suddenly bloodied and stinging hands quickly told another story.

The very connection between the tools of his trade, a set of fancy PXG golf clubs, and short-term financial success were a mess. So too was his right elbow, left forearm and right knee. Shock set in even before he realised his grip on his Asian Development Tour (ADT) and MENA Tours dream was, quite literally, battered and bruised.

“I was kinda in shock, actually, how it happened, everything went so quick,” Lundell said rewinding to the crash.

“I was straight up and I was like, I’m alright and then I look at both of my hands and there was a bit of blood on them and I was like, wow, a bit in shock.”

Fast-forward two days, a quick medical centre patch-up job, a longer hospital visit and plenty of painkillers and antibiotics besides and the 26-year-old miraculously finds himself in contention at the Blue Canyon Classic.

Lundell will start the final round of the Beautiful Thailand Swing event on Sunday just a shot adrift of Thai teen Denwit Boriboonsub on the Lakes course at fabled Blue Canyon Country Club. Perhaps, just maybe, the well-worn cliché warning peers to be “wary the injured golfer” might have a fairytale ending in Phuket.

Lundell added a gritty 67 Saturday to his gutsy opening 66, some feat in the steamy Phuket conditions which soaked his swathe of bandages in sweat. In the opening round, the protection started to come away, necessitating a mid-round re-dressing courtesy of the helpful Blue Canyon staff. And even today his palms in particular were still tender and saw him reel away from several shots in genuine pain.

But given the COVID-19 pandemic, which put his career on ice for the best part of two years, Lundell decided to make his tee time on Friday and take it from there. It’s safe to say it’s turned out well so far for the Swedish pro who splits his time between Falsterbo and Phoenix, Arizona.

“I just did my best [in the opening round], I just had to fight through it and I mean, the painkillers are doing their job as well, so happy about that,” he said.

“Obviously I’m here to compete, trying to do my best and within a few days hopefully I can take these off and play normal again.”

But that is for later. More immediately, Lundell has a shot at an unlikely ADT/MENA Tour breakthrough.

“I shot a nice little 67 today. It’s a good start so far I think and despite the circumstances, I’ll take it. It’s not what I planned out but I’m really happy about the round and looking forward to tomorrow,” he said.

“At the moment I’m nine-under-par which is really nice. I’m really looking forward to probably striking it a little better and maybe making a few more puts. I just want to be in contention coming in down the final nine holes. Take it as it comes and yeah, I’m looking forward to it.”

Lundell insists he’s not a leaderboard watcher which won’t be a problem tomorrow given there is no live scoring. He’ll just have to rely on going low and seeing where he ends up. What is guaranteed is that he’ll be taking the bus home, with or without the trophy.