(Reuters) - Welshman Jamie Donaldson completed a memorable debut at the Thailand Golf Championship on Sunday, winning the Asian Tour event with a three-shot victory which also earned him a place in next year’s Open.
The 40-year-old, who had fired a 63 in the first round, signed off with a strong seven-under-par 65 for a winning total of 21 under at the Amata Spring Country Club.
Englishman Lee Westwood and 23-year-old French talent Clement Sordet, who was playing on a sponsor’s invite, shared second place at 18-under 270.
Thai teenager Phachara Khongwatmai was the fourth player in the field to secure a place in the 145th Open at Royal Troon from July 14 after the 16-year-old carded 66 to be sixth at 13 under.
He finished one shot behind Spaniard Sergio Garcia (69) and Korean An Byeonghun (70), both of whom had secured their Open berths going into the second event in the Open Qualifying Series.
“This is certainly one of my best victories,” said Donaldson who kicked off his final round with a hat-trick of birdies after beginning the day two shots behind Sordet who carded 70.
“There are a lot of good players playing in the tournament this week. The field is very strong and to beat these guys is great,” said Donaldson.
Westwood sank five birdies in his blemish-free 67 and was delighted to be heading back to the world’s oldest major next year.
“It’s great to be have made it into The Open,” said the former world number one.
“I’ve played every one since 1995 so it’s great to keep that run going. It’s been 21 years now and I’ve not missed one, so I‘m happy,” added Westwood.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Clare Fallon