Thais rule at Malaysian Amateur Open

[L to R] Sabah Golf Association president Datuk George Bandusena, MGA vice-president Datuk Mohamed Zain Yusuf, champion Sadom Kaewkanjana and MGA president Senator Admiral (R) Tan Sri Dato Setia Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor.

Kota Kinabalu, May 21: Thai teenager Sadom Kaewkanjana edged compatriot Witchayanon Chothirungruengrueng in a playoff to win the 115th Malaysian Amateur Open at Nexus Golf Resort Karambunai.

Sadom had the luxury of three putts on the first extra hole after Witchayanon pulled his drive into the water and sent his next two shots into trouble. This was the second year running that Witchayanon lost in extra holes at the event, following his defeat to Australia’s Lachlan Barker at Templer Park Country Club last year.

Witchayanon, 20, had stormed into a three-shot lead after a brilliant front nine but dropped shots on 15 and 16 for a closing two-under 69. Overnight leader Sadom meanwhile rallied with birdies on 14 and 17 either side of a bogey on 16 to turn in an even-par 71 to level the contest at four-under 280.

Sadom, who had won the Philippine Amateur Open earlier in the year, was delighted to add to his collection of national amateur championships.

“My game held up today and I am delighted to win this championship. It’s always hard to beat your own team mate to a title but that’s golf. Witchayanon had a great start today and I was playing catch up for most of the round. Obviously, his run of bad luck sort of coincided with my birdies,” said the 18-year-old.

“I was all pumped going into the play-off and I knew I had a good chance if I kept the ball in regulation. In the end, a bogey proved enough and I’m really pleased with my display,” added Sadom, who hopes that his latest victory will confirm his spot in his country’s South East Asia (SEA) Games squad.

India’s Yashas Chandra finished third on 285 after a brilliant closing 67, while another Thai Kosuke Hamamoto was further two strokes adrift in fourth.

Malaysia’s best finisher was Galven Kendall Green in joint 16th place on 11-over par after rounds of 77,69,76 and 73 to settle.

Conducted by the Malaysian Golf Association in conjunction with the Sabah Golf Association, the 115th edition of the Malaysian Amateur Open is jointly supported by the Sabah State Government, National Sports Council, Jebsen & Jessen, Kurnia Insurance, Letz Travel, Crest Link, Srixon Sports Asia, Titoni, Titleist, 100Plus, Nexus Golf Resort Karambunai and the Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai.

Results (Top 10 and ties)

280 – Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA) 70-70-69-71, Witchayanon Chothirungruengrueng (THA) 71-71-69-69 (Sadom wins on the first play-off hole)

285 – Yashas Chandra (IND) 71-70-77-67

287 – Kosuke Hamamoto (THA) 72-71-74-70

290 – Atiruj Winaicharonechai (THA) 76-77-66-71, Sangchai Kaewcharoen (THA) 70-69-76-75

291 – Lachlan Barker (AUS) 77-73-67-74

292 – Gregory Foo (SIN) 74-75-70-73, Low Wee Jin (SIN) 76-70-73-73, Joshua Ho (SIN) 70-73-74-75

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