Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee was in a class of his own as he cruised to an unprecedented 13th Asian Tour title at the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open yesterday.
The untouchable three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner posted a final-round seven--under-par 65 to win the US$300,000 event in Siem Reap by four shots with a four-day total of 267.
Japan’s Kenichi Kuboya, who had held the lead for three rounds, had to settle for a disappointing second place after signing off with a 70 for a 271 total at the Phokeethra Country Club.
There was little to choose between him and Kuboya until the Japanese made a costly mess at the par-three 14th with a double bogey, giving Thongchai a three-shot lead.
Thongchai stormed home convincingly with three birdies in his last three holes to secure his first win this season and a record 13th career title on the Asian Tour.
“If I continue my good form, there is a good chance of winning again next week,” said Thongchai of his title aspirations at this week’s Black Mountain Masters in Hua Hin in his homeland, the Asian Tour’s season finale.
South Korea’s Kim Hyung-sung returned with a 72 to take third place on 273, while India’s Anirban Lahiri and Guido Van der Valk of the Netherlands took a share of fourth place on matching 274s.
Australia’s Marcus Both, together with Malaysia’s Iain Steel and Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng, took equal sixth on 275.
REUTERS, MALELANE, SOUTH AFRICA
Self-confessed wild man Pablo Martin treated the crowd to a spectacular exhibition of golf to surge within a stroke of the lead after the Alfred Dunhill Championship third round on Saturday.
The title holder from Spain picked up two eagle threes, but was lucky to avoid the water at the par-five 18th as he carded a four-under-par 68 for a nine-under total of 207, one stroke behind overnight leader Anthony Michael (71) of South Africa.
Also on 207 at Leopard Creek Country Club was South African Dawie Van der Walt (70), while lurking menacingly three shots off the pace was home favorite Charl Schwartzel (69), who won two European Tour events last season.
Martin eagled the long 13th and 15th before reaching the final hole one shot off the lead.
He again tried to reach the green in two, but his three-wood effort bounced off the putting surface and rolled down a bank to finish perilously close to the water.
Martin then played a delicate chip shot and secured his par with two putts.
“I’m wild, I wasn’t raised properly, but if I can pull it off why not try the shot?” the Spaniard said.
Michael, 25, bogeyed two of the first three holes, but showed great composure to hang on to his lead.
Schwartzel again looks likely to feature in the final-round scramble for honors after winning the title in 2005 and finishing as runner-up three times.
Alex Haindl (72) was sharing fourth place with fellow South African Schwartzel on 209.
Michael, who has led since the first round in only his third European Tour event, said he was getting used to the heat.
AP, COOLUM, AUSTRALIA
Heavy rain forced a suspension in play during the final round of the Australian PGA Championship yesterday, with Peter Senior holding a one-stroke lead after nine holes.
The course was hit by 50mm of rain overnight, and players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls on the fairways.