| 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
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