SINGAPORE — Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana secured the biggest title of his fledgling golf career in winning the US$1.25 million (S$1.7 million) SMBC Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club on Sunday (23 January).
The 23-year-old fired his second straight bogey-free round, carding a composed two-under-par 69 on the tough Serapong Course to finish on 13-under 271 and beat Japan’s Yuto Katsuragawa (68) and South Korea's Kim Joo-hyung (69) by three strokes.
American Sihwan Kim, who started the day sharing the third-round lead with Sadom, carded a two-over 73 to take fourth spot. These top four golfers booked their tickets to this year’s British Open at St. Andrews as the Singapore Open is one of the qualifying tournaments for the Major.
On an extremely hot day, Sadom confirmed his status as one of Asia's best young golfers, playing a matured, error-free final round as others wilted in the sun.
Co-leader Kim was the first to blink when he made bogey on the opening hole, and Sadom seized the initiative when he moved three strokes ahead of the American with birdies on Holes 6 and 7. From then on, he calmly made par all the way home to pick up a cheque for US$225,000.
“This is amazing, it wasn’t easy,” he said after winning his second professional title.
“It has taken a lot of hard work to get here, especially over the last two years. This is a great way to start the year. I hope it’s the start of a great year.”
With the prize cheque, Sadom also finished second in the Asian Tour Order of Merit with US$378,972 in earnings.
Leader Kim Joo-hyung earned US$108,125 for his joint-second finish at the Singapore Open, and became the second-youngest golfer to clinch the Order of Merit at 19 years and 216 days old. Compatriot Noh Seung-yul was the youngest when he won in 2010 at 19 years and 204 days old.
"I felt like I had a shot, but obviously I couldn't be so aggressive because just knowing that I had The Open on the line as well," Kim said of his final round.
"I felt like I didn't have my 100 per cent today and it's pretty disappointing. But we learn, and hopefully just come back stronger."
Koh Dengshan ended as the leading Singaporean golfer of the tournament, after coming in with a 73 to finish in joint-60th. By being the top local player, he booked his place in the field for next month’s Saudi International, the opening tournament for the 2022 Asian Tour season.
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