SMBC Sin­ga­pore Open 2017

Prayad wins in Sin­ga­pore af­ter Scott's wa­tery woe

Golf Asia (Malaysia) - - TEE BOX - IMAGES © PAUL LAKATOS & KHALID REDZA / LAGARDÈRE SPORTS.

Vet­eran Thai golfer Prayad Mark­saeng won the Sin­ga­pore Open by a sin­gle stroke af­ter the tour­na­ment favourite Adam Scott blew his chances of a fourth ti­tle by hit­ting two balls into the wa­ter.

Prayad shot a fi­nal round of four-un­der-par 67 to fin­ish at nine-un­der 275 and cap­ture his 20th ti­tle since turn­ing pro­fes­sional in 1991, earn­ing him­self a place in this year’s Bri­tish Open.

“I feel like I have done my coun­try proud,” Prayad said. “I am thrilled to earn a spot in The Open too. I hope I can make my coun­try proud again by se­cur­ing a good re­sult at Royal Birk­dale.”

Four play­ers, Phachara Khong­wat­mai of Thai­land, Ju­vic Pa­gun­san of the Philip­pines, Jbe Kruger of South Africa and the de­fend­ing cham­pion, South Korea’s Song Young-Han, fin­ished tied for sec­ond af­ter

a thrilling fi­nal day where six play­ers had a share of the lead.

Phachara, Kruger and Song also se­cured berths in the Bri­tish Open but Pa­gun­san missed out be­cause only four places in to­tal were avail­able and he has the low­est rank­ing of the run­ners-up. Kruger leapfrogged him for the last spot when he ea­gled the fi­nal hole.

Scott, chas­ing his fourth vic­tory at the Sen­tosa Golf Club, led by a stroke head­ing into the fi­nal round but the Aus­tralian squan­dered his chances with a fi­nal round of 74 to fin­ish tied for ninth at six-un­der. The 2013 US Mas­ters cham­pion still had a share of the lead af­ter six holes but saw his chances of win­ning sink when he chipped into the wa­ter on the sev­enth and he then hooked his drive into the South China Sea on the 15th. “I’m pretty dis­ap­pointed. I didn’t play very well this week­end, just didn’t hit it close enough to the hole to give my­self any real chances,” Scott said. “There were a cou­ple of bad swings, one bad swing on the 15th, ob­vi­ously, a bit of a thinned chip on the sev­enth that was costly. The rest was just... av­er­age.”

Prayad, whose first golf club was made from bam­boo and scrap metal, joined the Ja­pan Se­nior Tour last year when he turned 50 and won four times but was not among the favourites to win the Sin­ga­pore Open, which fea­tured Scott, Ernie Els and Ser­gio Gar­cia.

Af­ter a slow start, he went into the fi­nal round four shots be­hind Scott in a tie for 12th but got off to a flyer with three birdies on the front nine.

He dropped a shot on the 11th but birdied the 13th and fi­nal holes then en­dured an anx­ious wait in the club­house be­fore his vic­tory was con­firmed. One by one, the chal­lengers all fal­tered in the clos­ing holes as the wind picked up. Phachara closed with a 71, Pa­gun­san with 70 and Kruger and Song each signed for 69.

“I waited in the club­house for about two hours be­fore I knew I won the tour­na­ment,” Prayad said. “I felt very re­laxed, didn’t think too much and just went for my lunch.”

Prayad Mark­saeng of Thai­land pic­tured with the win­ner’s tro­phy

The Open qual­i­fiers, Left to right, Phachara Khong­wat­mai of Thai­land,Prayad Mark­saeng of Thai­land, Jbe Kruger of South Africa and Song Young­han of Korea pic­tured with the Claret Jug

9 year old Bran­don Lee try­ing to Beat The Pro

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