| Old Still Very Much Gold

Noth­ing, it seems, cease to amaze these days on the Asian Tour. Three tour­na­ment into the new 2017 sea­son, won­der­ful sto­ry­lines have emerged to pro­vide the “wow” fac­tor that only bodes well for the re­gion’s gov­ern­ing body for the pro­fes­sional game, writes

HK Golfer - - Contents - By Chuah Choo Chi­ang

Sweet-swing­ing Prayad proved that old was still very much gold as he claimed a pop­u­lar tri­umph in Sin­ga­pore to be­come the sec­ond old­est Tour win­ner.

From veteran star Prayad Mark­saeng win­ning the SMBC Sin­ga­pore Open at the ripe age of 50 years and 357 days to rookie Todd Sin­nott com­ing through in his sec­ond start and Jazz Janewat­tananond over­com­ing the de­spair of los­ing his Tour card to be­com­ing a cham­pion, the ac­tion on the fair­ways has been fast, fu­ri­ous and ful­fill­ing.

Out­side the ropes, the Asian Tour made land­mark an­nounce­ments where it will be­come a tri-sanc­tion part­ner of the ISPS HANDA World Su­per 6 Perth and Fiji In­ter­na­tional this sea­son along­side with the Euro­pean Tour and PGA Tour of Aus­trala­sia while an agree­ment was reached with or­gan­is­ers of the New Zealand Open as well which will see the Tour break­ing new ground.

While mod­ern day golf has seen, the young guns blazing the trail by dom­i­nat­ing the scene in re­cent times, sweet-swing­ing Prayad proved that old was still very much gold as he claimed a pop­u­lar tri­umph in Sin­ga­pore to be­come the sec­ond old­est Tour win­ner.

A strict com­bi­na­tion of stretch­ing, regular vis­its to the hot spring when he is in Ja­pan and proper di­et­ing have been at­trib­uted as be­ing the se­cret to his longevity in the game. The 10th Asian Tour ti­tle also made him the third most win­ningest player be­hind coun­try­men Tha­worn Wi­ratchant, who has 18 ti­tles un­der his belt and Thongchai Jaidee, who holds 13 vic­to­ries.

“I am turn­ing 51 on the Jan­uary 30. This will be the best birth­day present for me,” he beamed as he hoisted the Sin­ga­pore Open tro­phy af­ter eclips­ing stars such as Ser­gio Garcia and Adam Scott.

“I look af­ter my­self very well. I eat well, sleep well and stay happy. I will keep play­ing golf be­cause I was born to be a golfer.”

In con­trast, Prayad’s young com­pa­triot, Jazz, rose from the depths of de­spair to the heights of tri­umph when he won the Bashund­hara Bangladesh Open by four shots.

The 21-year-old, who was only a few months old when Prayad claimed his first Asian Tour vic­tory in 1996, was al­ways tipped to be­come a win­ner af­ter he first hit the scene by be­com­ing the youngest golfer to make the half­way cut at the age of 14.

Jazz fin­ished 63rd on last year’s Or­der of Merit, three rungs too long to keep his play­ing rights, and a trip to Qual­i­fy­ing

“I think this is the long­est 18 holes that I have played in my life. I am happy that I got the job done. I have been wait­ing for this win since I was 14!” said a ju­bi­lant Jazz.

School proved un­suc­cess­ful as he fin­ished out­side the top-35 which was re­quired to earn a Tour card.

With only a coun­try ex­emp­tion in his back pocket, Jazz showed great tenac­ity and at­ti­tude to rise to the top of the pile in Bangladesh af­ter hold­ing off lo­cal hero Sid­dikur Rah­man.

“I think this is the long­est 18 holes that I have played in my life. I am happy that I got the job done. I have been wait­ing for this win since I was 14!” said a ju­bi­lant Jazz. “I wasn’t dis­ap­pointed (about los­ing his card) be­cause I know my chance will come. I just ac­cepted my results as it is. I guess those set­backs helped in my game. The win came sooner than I thought.”

Such is the close ca­ma­raderie on Tour that Jazz later thanked Aus­tralians Mar­cus Both and Sam Brazel for pro­vid­ing words on en­cour­age­ment through a tweet which he also posted a screen­shot of his what­sapp chat with Both, who sim­ply said “Play your game right till the end.”

Sin­not, a pow­er­ful Aussie, be­came the sec­ond quick­est player to earn an Asian Tour vic­tory straight out from Qual­i­fy­ing School when he took only two events to hoist a tro­phy at the Leopalace21 Myan­mar Open.

New play­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties now abound for Sin­not and Jazz with their all-im­por­tant win­ner’s ex­emp­tion and you can be sure that other ex­cit­ing nar­ra­tives will un­fold over the 2017 sea­son.

The Asian Tour. #where­it­sAT

Chuach Choo Chi­ang is Di­rec­tor, Com­mu­ni­ca­tion of the Asian Tour and is based in Malaysia.

21-year-old Jazz Janewat­tananond was al­ways tipped to be­come a win­ner af­ter he first hit the scene by be­com­ing the youngest golfer to make the half­way cut at the age of 14

Todd Sin­not be­came the sec­ond quick­est player to earn an Asian Tour vic­tory straight out from Qual­i­fy­ing School when he took only two events to hoist a tro­phy at the Leopalace21 Myan­mar Open

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