LOPBURI - YOUNG-GUN Sadom Kaewkanjana survived a topsy-turvy final round to beat fellow former national teammate Kosuke Hamamoto for his maiden Asian Development Tour title in the Bt4-million Thongchai Jaidee Foundation on Sunday.
From left, Sadom Kaew Kanjana, Thongchai Jaidee and amateur winner Runchanapong Youprayong
The 20-year-old from the South dazzled the crowd with a hole-in-one off the second tee at the 13th Military Circle Golf Course, then stumbled to a double bogey on the ninth before he found momentum with three birdies at the back nine for a final round 68 and a total 14-under-par 266.
“I was thrilled to hit my first hole-in-one in a tournament. I tried to hit birdies but Lee Soo-min put so much pressure on me and was just one stroke behind at one point,” said Sadom, in just his third tournament as a pro.
“Luckily I made birdies on the 13th and 14th holes which was the turning point. I relaxed and got my confidence back until the end,” added Sadom, who won his first All Thailand Golf Tour title at the 2017 Singha Pattaya Open when he was still an amateur.
After sinking his tee shot on the 182-yard par-3 second hole, Sadom appeared to be in the driver’s seat with a five shot advantage over Seungjae Maeng of the US, before a double bogey at the ninth then a bogey at 12 saw Lee breathing down his neck just a shot behind.
Collecting himself, the rookie recovered to shoot two straight birdies on 13 and 14 to stretch his lead while the South Korean faded away with a double bogey on 17 and bogey on 18. One-time European Tour winner Lee signed off with a 69 and a total 272 for lone third.
“I grew up playing on narrow courses upcountry, so I’m familiar with this type of layout. Winning a tournament carrying the name of my idol, Thongchai Jaidee, is really special for me,” said Sadom who won Bt700,0000 in prize money plus Bt100,000 for the hole-in-one.
Sadom’s 2018 Asian Games teammate, Kosuke Hamamoto from Chiang Mai, carded the day’s lowest of 65 to finish in second on nine-under 271.
“Sadom has always been the talented one since our amateur years. As for me I just hope I can play steadier in all four rounds so that I can win at least one All Thailand Tour event this year,” said the 20-year-old Thai-Japanese.