Malaysia defeated Thailand to win The Men's Team Gold Medal

Excellently defeating Thailand, the Malaysian team won the gold medal in the men's golf team event at the 31st SEA Games.

It was thought that with a lineup full of excellent golfers, Thailand would have an advantage over Malaysia in the men's team final. However, events on Dam Vac course proved the opposite. Malaysia with the individual event champion – Ervin Chang had an brilliant match.

Ervin Chang (Malaysia) chipping at the 9 hole in Final Men's Team.

Despite having to compete with the most stable player on the Thailand’s team at SEA Games 31st – Weerawish Narkprachar, Ervin Chang still showed his superb skills. Although he let his opponent take the lead 2 Up after the first 4 holes, with his skill and spririt, Ervin Chang was still able to bring the match back to a draw after the first 9 holes.

Up to the next 9 holes, the Malaysian golfer completely took charge of the match. Two consecutive victories at holes 10th & 12th helped Ervin Chang take the lead with 3 Up. Although Weerawish continue to fought back persistently and shortened the gap to 2 Up with a victory on the 15th hole, that was not enough for the Thailand’s golfer to turn the game around. Then, with a Par on the 17th hole, Ervin Chang ended the match with a 2&1 victory and bring back the first score for the Malaysian team.

Meanwhile, the tension was high in the previous match between Ratchanon Chantananuwat and Marcus Lim. Despite being led in hole 2nd and 8th,  the victories at holes 4th, 6th and 7th helped Marcus Lim end the first 9 holes with a 1 Up advantage. It was not untill hole 15th that Ratchanon had a birdie after a perfect putt from more than 8 feet away and balanced out the game.

Ratchanon Chantananuwat celebrated after victory.

The excitement continue when the Thailand’s golfer got another birdie point at hole 17th and took the lead against his opponent by 1 Up. Then to the 18th hole, a Par shot from a distance of 10 feet away helped Ratchanon Chantananuwat secured a win with a 1 Up difference against the Malaysian opponent to level the head-to-head ratio between the two teams.

All eyes were on the final match between Pongsapak Laopakdee and Kanavathi. The Thailand’s golfer is the one who is more appreciated having won in the previous 2 days of competition with huge differences. Meanwhile, the Malaysian athlete lost quickly 6&4 to Mohamad Bintang in the semi-final. However, the developments of this match surprised all spectators who were at Dam Vac golf course.

Having to compete continuously for 6 days Pongsapak Laopakdee somewhat physically and mentally fatigued and his shots no longer retain accuracy. During the whole match, Pongsapak was struggling to keep up. He let his opponent lead 2 Up after the first 9 holes. Going to the back-nine, although there was a time when the gap was leveled at the 14th hole, but 2 failures at the 15th and 16th holes made Pongsapak Laopakdee once again let the opponent lead 2 Up.

Kanavathi brought victory for Malaysia.

Drama came on the 17th hole, when Pongsapak Laopakdee only took 2 strokes to put the ball on, while Kanavathi needed 3 strokes to do this. Then, with an unsuccessful par save, the Malaysian golfer accepted to lose in this hole.

A victory on the 18th hole is going to help Pongsapak Laopakdee bring the final into the playoff series. The Thailand’s golfer started off well, when it only took 2 strokes to bring the ball to a favorable position in front and just under 10 yards from the green. Meanwhile, Kanavathi took up to 3 strokes but only brought the ball to the rough area behind the green.

A chip that brings the ball to the flag will help Pongsapak Laopakdee put great pressure on Kanavathi. But the weak shot that followed only helped him get the ball on the green but still about 15 feet away from the flag. This unexpectedly helped Kanavathi have a comfortable and confident mentality for the next shot. Then, an excellent chip print helped the Malaysian golfer get a birdie point to end all hopes of Pongsapak Laopakdee to draw a tie, therefore defeating the opponent by 1 Up.

Kanavathi's victory also helped the Malaysian team win the gold medal in the men's team event. This is the 3rd time the Malaysian team has achieved this accomplishment after the SEA Games 1989 and 2001. This gold medal in the men's team event also ended a very successful 31st SEA Games for the Malaysian team when they won two gold medals, one silver and one bronze.

Meanwhile, this is the first time in the last 5 SEA Games that the Thailand’s male golfers could not win gold medals in both individual and team events. This proves that the gap in qualifications between Thailand and other countries in the region has narrowed significantly.

And in the bronze medal match, the Indonesian team also overcame Singapore with a score of 2&1 to finish off the 31st SEA Games with a silver and a bronze medal.

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