MADISON, Wis. — Thongchai Jaidee became the first Thai winner in PGA Tour Champions history Sunday, closing with a 4-under 68 for a 1-stroke victory in the American Family Insurance Championship.
A week after playing his way into the event with a 10th-place finish in Iowa, the 52-year-old Thongchai won in his 19th start on the 50-and-over tour.
“Very big thing for me,” Thongchai said. “The game has changed. Now I’m very, very happy to be on tour.”
Thongchai rebounded from a bogey on the par-5 16th with a birdie on the par-3 17th and closed with a par. He finished at 14-under 202 at University Ridge.
“Great tournament here,” Thongchai said. “I played solid, solid, solid. I took one mistake on 16, hit the tree and lost the ball. We make good bogey and try to get my plan. Holed a good putt on 17 and the game changed. I think my confidence in the putting, that’s why helped me a lot for this week.”
Tom Pernice Jr. was second after a 66.
“I’m happy for Thongchai,” Pernice said. “He had a little bad break there on 16 to hit the trees and lose the ball, so to battle back and make a bogey and then to birdie 17, he deserves to win.”
“Nothing worked on the greens today,” Jimenez said.
Kelly, the winner last week in Iowa in a playoff, was trying to win the event — hosted by Madison friend Steve Stricker — for the third straight time. He won in 2019 and 2021, while the 2020 event was canceled because of the pandemic.
Stricker closed with a 67 to tie for 11th at 9 under.
“Fun to watch,” Stricker said. “What another great week. The sun decided to show up at the very end — better late than never, I guess. Another wonderful week here. Tremendous crowd support, sponsor support and player support. We had it all again.”