Hua Hin, Thailand: Australian Andrew Dodt staged a dramatic fightback with a closing five-under-par 67 to lift the inaugural True Thailand Classic presented by Black Mountain trophy.
Dodt’s winning total of 16-under-par 272 at the Black Mountain Golf Club left him speechless as his second victory on the Asian Tour ended a five-year title drought.
Thai Thongchai Jaidee’s double-bogey on 13 effectively ended all hopes of a local winner at the US$2 million Thai showpiece as he signed off with a 71 to share second place with overnight leader Scott Hend of Australia.
Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat, meanwhile, bounced back from the disappointment of missing the cut in Malaysia last week to enjoy a tied-fourth finish on 274, alongside Canada’s Richard T. Lee and Jason Knutzon of the United States.
After five years, Dodt completed his remarkable return to the winner’s circle with a performance that left him searching for words.
“There are no thoughts at the moment. I’m speechless,” said the Australian, who started the day four shots behind Hend.
But it was Dodt’s ability to stay patient that made all difference. After a hat-trick of birdies from his opening first hole, the 29-year-old parred his next eight holes before gaining further shots on 12 and 15 which effectively sealed his win.
“Those three birdies really kept the momentum going and I hung on after that. The winds picked up on the back nine and it got pretty tricky towards the end and I tried to play as sensibly as I could,” said Dodt.
Thongchai delighted the home crowd when he surged into contention following birdies on the first and 12th holes. However, a double-bogey on 13 pegged him back.
“I made some mistakes with club selection, especially on 13. The pin positions were tough especially on the back nine,” said Thongchai, who had an eagle putt on the par-five 18th to win. But he left it 10 feet short and missed the birdie attempt which would have forced a play-off with Dodt.
“I tried my best. But it’s okay. Andrew was a deserving winner as he put up a great performance. I’ll try again the next time,” said Thongchai.
Hend had an encouraging start after he birdied two of his opening four holes. But it went downhill after that as he bogeyed the seventh, 14th and 17th holes and closed with a 72.
“I pressed for the win on 17 and got a bit aggressive with my bunker shot, and I finished one shot behind. I came here to try to win.
“All in all it was a good solid week and there are a lot of positives to take out of it. It’s good to see Dodty winning. Obviously I wish it was me standing there winning, but congratulations to him,” said Hend.