ASIAN GOLF INDUSTRY FEDERATION

Trio Taking the High Road to Royal Troon

Open qualifiers Denwit Boriboonsub (left), Wang Jeunghun (centre) and David Puig.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: David Puig’s stock continues to soar after claiming victory in the US$1 million IRS Prima Malaysian Open – his second win on the Asian Tour in four months.

Big things are expected of the young Spaniard who plays on the LIV Golf League, and he showed why by firing a second successive bogey-free nine-under-par 62 for a spectacular tournament total of 23-under and a two-shot triumph.

On a day of incredibly low scoring at The Mines Resort and Golf Club, in the first event of Asian Tour’s 2024 campaign, Korean Wang Jeung-hun returned a 61 to finish second, while Thailand’s Denwit Boriboonsub matched that score to tie for third with John Catlin from the United States, who shot a 66.

As preferred lies were played no records were officially set, including Denwit’s back nine of eight-under 28, which equalled the Asian Tour record.

As the event is part of The Open Qualifying Series, Puig, Wang and Denwit have all made it through to The Open at Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland, from July 18-21. Only the leading three go through with Catlin denied a place as Denwit’s world ranking is higher.

Said 22-year-old Puig: “It feels great – a weird feeling for sure. We almost missed the cut. I was playing good, but I kind of messed up. We actually finished round two good, and the weekend was just insane. I mean 18 birdies, no bogeys, in 36 holes was unbelievable. And getting that Open spot is super cool, I came here for that.”

He started the final round three behind overnight leader Jared Du Toit from Canada but quickly moved into contention when he made the turn in five-under with birdies on two, three, four, six and seven. It put him in share of the lead with Wang on 19-under.

Puig then took over at the top when he made birdie on 10, and then proceeded to birdie the next two for a two-shot gap.

Both Wang and Denwit were playing ahead of Puig, so the Spaniard had to stay fully focused on the homeward stretch. A birdie on 17 did much to help his cause.

“I had to be careful on those last four or five holes,” he said. “Even holes before that, there is a lot of water on the back nine. You have to keep being steady because birdies can come very fast, but so can big numbers.”

Puig is the first Spaniard to win the tournament and it was a far closer affair compared to his win at the International Series Singapore last October when he blazed his way to a five-shot triumph.

His name will be engraved on the trophy, named The Seagram Trophy, alongside some giants of the game including Lee Westwood, Vijay Singh, Louis Oosthuizen and Thongchai Jaidee.

Wang and Denwit both shot the lowest rounds of their careers – an appropriate time to do that with The Open qualifications at stake.

“I have not been playing well lately, so this is a really good result for me. I am working on trying to repeat my old swing and that worked today,” said Wang, a three-time champion on the DP World Tour, and a winner on the Asian Tour, who regained his Asian Tour card at the Qualifying School last month.

For Denwit it was yet another stunning week of golf coming off the back of a sensational finish to 2023 when he won in three successive weeks: the Saudi Open, the final Asian Tour event of 2023, which came after winning the Thailand Open on the All Thailand Golf Tour, and the Aramco Invitational on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) the week before that.

“Today was amazing golf,” said 20-year-old Denwit. “The first nine was a bit of a struggle but then I told my caddie lets have some fun on the back nine. I was four shots back from the lead and I started holing putts from everywhere. I chipped in and everything happened.”

Both Puig and Denwit will be making their debuts in The Open, while Wang has played in it twice before, in 2016, when it was also staged at Royal Troon, and 2017.

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