Dhaka, Bangladesh: Kazuki Higa claimed his maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) title at his very first attempt following a final round two-under-par 70 at the inaugural US$60,000 BTI Open.
It was a wire-to-wire victory for the 23-year-old Japanese who emerged triumphant with a 17-under-par 271 total at the Kurmitola Golf Club.
Bangladeshi Zamal Hossain Mollah signed off with a 70 to finish three shots back in second place while Sweden’s Malcolm Kokocinski shared third spot with Argentina’s Miguel Carballo on 276.
“This is truly a special week for me in Bangladesh. It started with my birthday celebrations on Monday and I end the week with my first ADT win. It is even more memorable as this is my first ADT event,” said Higa.
Victory for Higa was also a redemption of sorts for the Japanese as he missed out on his Asian Tour card at Qualifying School by a single shot in January.
“After Qualifying School, I just told myself not to give up and try to do better the next time. I’m glad I didn’t have to wait too long for my first win,” said Higa, who graduated from Tohoku Fukushi University which counts Hideki Matsuyama among its alumni.
Starting the day with a three-shot cushion, Higa saw his advantage wiped out within four holes. In response, he decided to change his game plan and play less conservatively.
“I did not feel much pressure at the start of the day as I thought I had a good lead. I was playing it safe until the fourth hole when Zamal caught up with me.
“That was when I decided to drop the safe approach and become more aggressive. It worked out well and I’m so happy now,” said Higa.
The BTI Open was the second ADT event to be staged in Bangladesh this year. The tournament was afforded Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner received six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earned points on a sliding scale.
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