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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Maiden Asian Tour Triumph for Thai Rookie Professional

On his first Asian Tour start of the season, rookie pro Sadom Kaewkanjana survived a nail-biting finish to clinch a one-stroke victory in the US$350,000 Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open.

It was the second professional win for the 20-year-old Thai, who triumphed on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) in February, just two months after joining the play-for-pay ranks.

Sadom, who took home a winner’s prize purse of US$63,000 and received 14 Official World Golf Ranking points, said: “Winning in my first start on the Asian Tour, I feel very happy. I will take a lot of positives from this week and this win will give me a lot of confidence. It’s been an unbelievable journey since turning professional last December.

“My initial goal was just to keep my Asian Tour card for next season but now I have won on both the Asian Development Tour and the Asian Tour. I didn’t expect to do so well. I finished second here in an amateur event four years ago. It’s good to come back and get that win now as a professional. I will remember all the good memories here.”

Sadom extended his overnight two-shot lead to four at the Kurmitola Golf Club.However, after dropping three consecutive bogeys from the 13th to blow the title race wide open, he had to fend off a spirited late challenge from Indian Ajeetesh Sandhu.

While Sandhu dropped his first bogey in 63 holes on the par-five 17, Sadom struck with birdies on 16 and 17 to take a one-stroke lead to the last hole.

After pulling his tee shot behind a tree on the par-four 18th, Sadom chipped back to the middle of the fairway before striking his approach to eight feet. He nailed the par putt to close with a one-under-par 70 and a winning total of 19-under-par 265.

Sadom is the third Thai after Thitiphun Chuayprakong (2016) and Jazz Janewattananond (2017) to win the National Open of Bangladesh, which was celebrating its fifth consecutive edition on the Asian Tour.

Sandhu, a one-time Asian Tour winner, closed with a second straight 65 to take second place while fellow-Indian Rashid Khan capped a second straight top-10 finish after battling to a 70 to settle two shots back in third.

Australian Maverick Antcliff posted a 70 to finish in fourth place on 272 while Jazz, highest-ranked player in the field, was a further shot back in tied-fifth after closing with a 69.

Zamal Hossain Mollah emerged as the best-placed Bangladeshi for the second year straight after closing with a 65 to finish in tied-10th place.

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