Hua Hin, Thailand: Jazz Janewattananond held off a spirited charge from fellow-Thai Varanyu Rattanaphaibulkij to win the MahaSamutr Masters.
Starting the final round tied for the lead with France’s Lionel Weber, Jazz closed with a level-par 72 at Banyan Golf Club to force a sudden-death play-off. He won with a birdie at the first extra hole, becoming the first Thai player to win a MENA Tour event.
Jazz broke free early, making three birdies in four holes after opening with a bogey and was able to keep his nose ahead for much of the day. But two bogeys on the back nine prevented him from settling the issue in regulation play.
Four shots off the pace overnight, Varanyu carded a bogey-free 68, highlighted by an eagle-three at the long third. But his scintillating final-round charge fell agonisingly short.
“I’m happy to win my first event on the MENA Tour. It was quite windy out there and there was a bit more pressure playing a two-ball, a bit like match play,” said Jazz after receiving the winner’s trophy from Veeranat Limprasutr, Head of Business Development and Director of Operations at MahaSamutr Country Club Hua Hin.
“I holed a clutch putt on the 18th to get into the play-off and then managed to make another nice putt on the first extra hole (ninth) from 20 feet,” he added.
South African Tyler Hogarty, Jamie Elson of England and Thai Chawalit Plaphol shot matching 68s to join Wolmer Murillo of Venezuela in a share of third at four-under 212, one clear of a five-man group which included overnight leader Weber and England’s Zane Scotland, a 10-time winner on the MENA Tour.
Thais completed their domination of the tournament when Worathon Zeng took the amateur division honours. The 18-year-old closed with a 70 to reach two-under for the tournament, finishing four shots ahead of Indian Rayhan Thomas, who signed for a closing 76.
The MENA Tour now travels to Korat for the Mountain Creek Open at the Seve Ballesteros-designed Mountain Creek Golf Club (May 8-10).
An initiative of the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation, the MENA Golf Tour was created in 2011 with the aim of developing golf in the region. It is affiliated to The R&A and the Arab Golf Federation and enjoys the Official World Golf Ranking status.