SINGAPORE — South Korean youngster Kim Joo-hyung emerged as champion of The Singapore International golf tournament, after winning a sudden-death play-off against Thailand’s Rattanon Wannasrichan at the Tanah Merah Country Club on Sunday (16 January).
The 19-year-old holed a 14-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole, on the Tampines Course’s daunting par-five 18th, clinching the title as Rattanon missed his birdie attempt from eight feet.
The victory also saw Kim, who earned a cheque for US$180,000 (S$243,000), overtake Australian Wade Ormsby on the Asian Tour Order of Merit with one more event remaining this season - next week’s SMBC Singapore Open.
Kim and Rattanon, playing together in the final pairing, had finished the tournament tied on four-under-par 284, after Kim closed with a 70 and third-round leader Rattanon carded a 72.
Thailand’s amateur star Ratchanon Chantananuwat, 14, took sole possession of third place when he returned a 69 to finish two shots shy of the play-off.
This is Kim's second success on the Asian Tour, following his win in the 2019 Panasonic Open in India.
When asked which win was harder, he said, “Has to be this one. Just because it’s a tough golf course you know, all the players played their heart out. I’m just very lucky to be on top. It was a grind today. I think it was a lot harder than the first one but definitely glad I finished on top.”
Kim had held a one-shot lead in the final regulation hole, but Rattanon made an eight-foot birdie after a brilliant chip from behind the green to draw level. The Korean took two to get out of a greenside bunker, after a difficult lie for his third, before making a tense par putt from three feet to force a sudden-death play-off.
“I thought I had this under control and just didn’t play safe enough,” said Kim.
“I played aggressive the whole day and I felt like sticking to the game plan was the right choice. I took the longer club and just got lazy on it, leaked it right but had a great up and down. I just told myself to give myself a chance and, yeah, it all worked out.”
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