Cheonan, Korea: Jazz Janewattananond held his nerve to claim his fourth Asian Tour victory at the 62nd Kolon Korea Open Golf Championship. It was his second triumph this season.
Jazz, who extended his overnight two-shot lead to five after sinking three birdies in his opening seven holes, overcame a wild triple-bogey on the par-four 11th and a bogey on 14 to become the first foreign winner of the event since American Rickie Fowler in 2011.
The 23-year-old Jazz signed for a closing one-over-par 72 to win by one shot from Korean Hwang Inn-choon with a six-under-par 278 total in the KRW1,200 million (about US$1.06 million) event, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Korea Golf Association.
Jazz said: “I’m really honoured to win. This is a really tough course and I struggled towards the end. I got off to a good start today and I was flying until that triple-bogey. The exact same thing happened to me at the PGA Championship. I made the same easy mistake then to make a big number and couldn’t recover. I learned well from that experience. I told myself not to think about it and just keep moving forward.
“I knew that Rickie Fowler was the last foreigner to win this tournament in 2011. It’s a huge honour to become the next one after Rickie. It shows how strong the players on the Korean Tour are.
“I am really proud of myself that I managed to get the job done. It’s good to be back at the top on the Asian Tour Order of Merit now but it’s still a long way to go this season.”
Despite missing out on his second Asian Tour victory, Hwang took pride in his runner-up result, which not only marked his best finish in his national Open but also earned him a coveted spot at The Open next month where he will be making his Major debut.
He will be heading to Royal Portrush with compatriot Jang Dong-kyu, who closed with a 72 to finish tied-fourth in the event, which offered spots to The Open to the leading two players (not otherwise exempt) finishing in the top-eight and ties as part of The Open Qualifying Series.
American Chan Kim, who played on a sponsor’s invitation, marked his best efforts of the week with a closing 68 to settle two shots behind Jazz in third place while Korean Kim Min-joon grabbed a share of fourth on 281.
The second qualifying spot went to Jang as he is ranked higher than Kim on the Official World Golf Ranking.