South Korea’s Lee In-woo fended off a challenge from 13-time Asian Tour winner Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand yesterday by closing with a four-under 68 to win the first Volvik Hildesheim Open.
Lee posted a winning total of 12-under 276, putting on hold Thaworn’s quest for a 14th title after he signed for a 69 to take a share of second place with Lee Sang-hee at the event jointly sanctioned with the Korean Golf Tour.
Lee, among six players tied for the overnight lead, knew that he had to be on top of his game given the quality of his closest rivals and the 40-year-old put in a flawless round with four birdies to end a seven-year winning drought.
“When I took a share of the third-round lead yesterday, I told myself that this was my chance of winning again and I cannot waste it,” Lee said. “What made this victory even sweeter was that I managed to win against a strong field that included players from the Asian Tour.”
Thaworn bemoaned a costly bogey on the par-three 17th which ended his chances of winning. The Thai was tied for the lead with Lee until a bad shot on the 17th caused him to slip.
He could have forced a playoff on the 18th, but he could not sink a birdie putt from 20 feet.
“The turning point was at the 17th. I found the bunker on my second shot and that left me with an uphill task to make another birdie, as that would have given me the outright lead,” Thaworn said. “While it’s disappointing, that’s golf and I’ll try to win again in my next event.”