Sadom Kaewkanjana, playing in his first AT start this season, extended his overnight two-shot lead to four with two opening birdies but had to fend off the spirited challenge from India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu after dropping three consecutive bogeys from the 13th to blow the title race wide open
Young Thai talent Sadom Kaewkanjana became the record fastest Qualifying School graduate to win on the Asian Tour after surviving a nail-biting finish to clinch the US$350,000 Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open by one shot Saturday.
Sadom, playing in his first AT start this season, extended his overnight two-shot lead to four with two opening birdies but had to fend off the spirited challenge from India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu after dropping three consecutive bogeys from the 13th to blow the title race wide open.
The 20-year-old Thai, however, fought back gallantly with successive birdies on 16 and 17 to give himself a one-shot advantage over Sandhu, who dropped his first bogey in 63 holes on the par-five 17, heading into the last at the Kurmitola Golf Club.
After hitting his tee shot on the par-four 18 to behind the tree on the left, Sadom chipped it back to the middle of the fairway before hitting to about eight feet.
He would eventually nail that par putt to close with a one-under-par 70 and a winning total of 19-under-par 265.
Sadom, who joined the play-for-pay ranks last December, was thrilled to produce a dramatic turnaround in the closing stage to claim his first AT victory and a second win as a professional after breaking through on the Asian Development Tour in February.
With this win, he would also become the third Thai after Thitiphun Chuayprakong (2016) and Jazz Janewattananond (2017) to win the National Open of Bangladesh, which is celebrating its fifth consecutive edition on the AT this week.
Sandhu, a one-time AT winner, closed with a second straight 65 to take second place while his compatriot Rashid Khan capped a second straight top-10 finish on the region’s premier Tour after battling to a 70 to settle two shots back in third.
Australia’s Maverick Antcliff posted a 70 to finish in fourth place on 272 while Jazz, highest-ranked player in the field this week, settled 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.
Sadom will take home a winner’s prize purse of US$63,000 and receive 14 Official World Golf Ranking points, thanks to his victory.
The Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open 2019 welcomed a new title sponsor in the National Bank Limited, a public limited bank in Bangladesh.
The tournament has been named in honour of the father of the nation of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
WHAT THEY SAID
Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND) – Final round 65 (-6)
I knew what I had to do when I started out. I actually did what I needed to so I am quite happy with that. I just made a mistake on one hole. I haven’t made any bogey in three and a half days. It’s not that I played the hole bad. I just missed out on the putt.
Rashid Khan (IND) – Final round 70 (-1)
I started alright. I hit it close to give myself opportunities to make birdies on the first few holes. I hit a few good shots but couldn’t hole the putts. It was all good. I expected it to be better but it’s fine. I just made some mistakes out there but otherwise, I am happy.
Jazz Janewattananond (THA) – Final round 69 (-2)
It’s been a good week although I didn’t manage to bring my ‘A’ game out there. I am really happy to come back here to play Kurmitola this week. It treated me well in 2017 but kind of bite back this time round but still, all is good. It’s good to cap another top-five finish for the season. It’s always nice to finish inside top-five. It could have been better.
Zamal Hossain Mollah (Ban) – Final round 65 (-6)
I missed a lot of short putts there. I could have done better. But I hit the ball really well. It’s the best I have done this week so I am still very happy with my round. This is my home course and I have an advantage here. I am happy with another good finish here.