Jazz in time for victory at the SMBC Singapore Open

Jazz in time for victory at the SMBC Singapore Open

Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond missed an eight-footer for eagle on the last hole but it was a grin on his face when the camera panned to him. The ball lipped the hole and he calmly tapped it in for a birdie.

The 23-year-old raised his hands in triumph as he finally won the coveted SMBC Singapore Open after coming in fourth last year and 11th in 2016. His final score of -18 (266) one-upped Adam Scott’s record of -17 set in 2010.

“I am really happy to win after coming off a disappointment – (my) loss to Poom Saksansin (at the Indonesian Open in December where Jazz finished second). He beat me there,” said Jazz, whose last win was the Queen’s Cup on home soil last year.

“I had a good 2018 and I did not know if my game was still there or not as I had a big break (from playing) but I am happy that I have still got it.”

Janewattananond fended off Paul Casey (-16), Yoshinori Fujimoto (-16) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (-14) after five birdies in the front nine gave him a three-stroke lead over the field. After sinking some miraculous par-putts to retain the lead, it might seem that nerves had gotten the better of him as he went on a birdie drought in the next six holes, including one bogey. However, the Hua Hin native played some brilliant golf and took back strokes on the 16th after making a slinging left to righter and then setting up an eagle opportunity on the 18th for the title.

He credited his new putting style and the tutelage of coach Pete Cowen for helping him cope with the treacherous Serapong course.

“I put the putter in play at the Panasonic Open in India. That was the first week I put it in play. It has worked ever since,” said the Thai teenager.

Image result for paul casey singaporeImage by SMBC Singapore Open

Casey’s search for his third Asian Tour win was repressed by a bogey on 15, despite gaining momentum with five birdies in 14 holes. His matching birdies on 16 and 18 were not enough to pip Janewattananond to the title.

“It was a good round of golf. It was nice and tidy. I really only made one error, it was the second shot into 15, which is a tough hole anyway, but it was a really nice clean round of golf and I played well,” said Casey, who is currently ranked 23rd in the world.

The win was Janewattananond’s third on the Asian Tour, his first on the Japan Tour and allowed him to book a spot in The Open for the second straight year.

There were four tickets for The Open at Royal Portrush up for grabs with Fujimoto, Prom Meesawat of Thailand and Korean Doyeob Mun taking the other three.

This victory propelled Janewattananond to 74th in the official world golf rankings.

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