South Africa’s James Kamte began his rookie year on the Asian Tour in style by lifting his maiden title at the season-opening Asian Tour International yesterday. Kamte held off a spirited challenge from a determined Tetsuji Hiratsuka, closing with a five-under 66 for a 16 under par 268 total to pip the Japanese to the title by two shots.
Overnight leader Hiratsuka, who came into the final round with a slender one shot lead, finished on even par 71 for a 270 total, while Australia’s Unho Park and Marcus Both together with Thailand’s Prom Meesawat and the Philippines’ Juvic Pagunsan all took a share of third place on 271.
It was always going to be a close tussle for the top of the leaderboard with the quality of play at the Suwan Golf and Country Club near Bangkok at its highest.
Kamte got off quickly with two birdies on his opening two holes. He survived a nasty scare on the fifth hole when he dropped a shot for bogey and allowed Park to move ahead of him.
However, the South African stormed into contention after the turn with birdies on the 11th, 13th and 16th holes when the others began to falter.
“To win the first tournament as a rookie on the Asian Tour is really a dream come true. I’ve always wanted this to happen and hopefully this is not going to be my last one,” Kamte said.