Jazz finds winning rhythm at SMBC Singapore Open

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Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond found his winning rhythm when he closed with a six-under-par 65 to take home the SMBC Singapore Open trophy for his third Asian Tour title and also seal his passage to The Open on Sunday.

The 23-year-old arrived in Singapore on the back of a rich vein of form to establish himself as one of the genuine contenders for the prestigious SMBC Singapore Open trophy at the start of the week. 

He did not disappoint as he shrugged off the challenges of a host of quality players including Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey and Davis Love III to become the third Thai after Thaworn Wiratchant (2001) and Prayad Marksaeng (2017) to lift his third Asian Tour title with a winning total of 18-under-par 266.

Casey surmounted a strong challenge by signing for a 65 but it was never going to be enough to catch Jazz, who was unstoppable on the Sunday afternoon at the Sentosa Golf Club. 

The Englishman had to settle for a share of second place with overnight leader, Yoshinori Fujimoto of Japan.

England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick, who was making his debut at the SMBC Singapore Open, closed with a 69 to take outright fourth place while Thailand’s Promm Meesawat and Korea’s Doyeob Mun share not only fifth place but will also make their way together to Royal Portrush in July.

The 2019 SMBC Singapore Open was part of The Open Qualifying Series for the third consecutive year where the leading four players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top-12 and ties on the final leaderboard will earn coveted spots at the 148th Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland from July 18-21.

Did you know?

  • Jazz Janewattananond became the third Thai, following Prayad Marksaeng (2017) and Thaworn Wiratchant (2001), to win the SMBC Singapore Open.
  • With 24 Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points on offer to the winner this week, Jazz is expected to break into the world’s top-100 for the first time in his career.
  • Jazz dropped only four shots this week. He missed only one green is his final round 65. 
  • Jazz enjoyed a runner-up finish at the Indonesian Masters last month and came close to winning last week at the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) before settling for fifth.
  • The 23-year-old Thai qualified for The Open for the first time when he came in tied-fourth at the SMBC Singapore Open last year.
  • He claimed his third Asian Tour title at the 2019 SMBC Singapore Open and obtained The Open ticket for the second straight year.
  • Jazz set a new lowest winning score record with his 18-under-par 266 total. He broke the record of 17-under-par 267 set by Adam Scott in 2010.
  • Jazz will take home his career’s biggest prize cheque of US$180,000.
  • Jazz has not finished outside top-five in his last three starts worldwide.
  • Paul Casey hit 38/56 fairways and 61/72 greens the entire week. He made a total of 31 putts on the final day.
  • Casey was one of the world’s most consistent players in 2018, achieving 12 top-20 finishes, including five top-10s in addition to his victory at the Valspar Championship. He has also remained a regular fixture inside the world’s top-25 since 2016.
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick is the youngest Englishman to get up to five European Tour victories after successfully defending his European Masters title in September last year.
  • Fitzpatrick hit 11/14 fairways and 13/18 greens on the final day.
  • Fitzpatrick is the 2013 US amateur champion and his maiden victory on the European Tour came in October 2015 when he won the British Masters. That saw him break into the world’s top-100 at 59th.
  • Yoshinori Fujimoto’s best finish at the Singapore Open came in 2016 when he finished tied-14th. The Japanese finished tied for 27th at the SMBC Singapore Open last year.
  • Fujimoto took an interest in golf as his grandfather owns a driving range in Japan. He started playing golf when he was seven.
  • Fujimoto went to the same University- Tohoku Fukushi University as Hideki Matsuyama but is two years and four months older.
  • He turned professional in 2011 and is a two-time winner on the Japan Tour.
  • Prom Meesawat will be making his second Major appearance at The Open this July. He last qualified in 2011 but missed the halfway cut.
  • Prom is a two-time winner on Tour. He represented Thailand, alongside Kiradech Aphibarnrat, for the first time in his career at the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne last November.
  • The 34-year-old Prom marked his best result at the Singapore Open, thanks to his tied-fifth place finish. It was also his fo]urth top-10 result in the prestigious tournament. He had previously finished eighth in 2005, tied-sixth in 2006 and sixth in 2007.
  • Doyeob Mun is playing in the Singapore Open for the first time in his career this week. 
  • He will be making his Major debut at The Open this July, thanks to his tied-fifth place finish.
  • The 27-year-old came through the Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2018 and retained his playing rights for 2019 after finishing inside top-62 on the Habitat for Humanity Standings last year. He also won on his home circuit last year.
  • Mun recorded the first Albatross of the 2019 season after hitting his five-iron from 190 metres on the par-five fourth hole during his second round.

 Players’ quotes:

Jazz Janewattananod (Tha) – Final round 65 (-6), Total 266 (-18)

I wasn’t expecting to win actually. I was going for The Open ticket. I felt the pressure when I got to the back nine today. I had a three-shot lead after turning in 21. I know anything can happen on this course. I was just trying to hit the fairways and greens. I made a silly bogey on the 13th which almost cost me the lead.

Getting into The Open last year was probably the best thing that has happened in my career so far. I remembered I spoke to Kiradech Aphibarnrat a lot last year before heading to Carnoustie. It was a really great experience. I learned a lot that week and I am vey excited to be making my second appearance at Royal Portrush this July.

I didn’t play good in Hong Kong two months ago. But I worked with my new coach Pete Cowen after that and my game has been good since. I have been playing really well. 

I felt a bit of nerves after that bogey to be honest but I managed to make good par saves on the next two holes which gave me the momentum to birdie the 16th. I wasn’t sure about the win until the 18th hole.

I have been going for the green in two on the 18th hole every day. I wasn’t aiming for the pin with my second shot actually. I was aiming for the middle of the green. It was a great shot. I had a four-iron in from 233 yards.

Breaking into the world’s top-100 is a great deal for me. When I was younger, I always say I want to be the first Thai to play on the PGA Tour and the first Thai to win a Major but now, in reality, I think Kiradech has a good chance to win a Major.

Kiradech is my role model. I always watch him play. I spent a lot of time with him and Thongchai when we played in Europe last year. Players like Boonchu Ruangkit, Thongchai Jaidee and Thaworn Wiratchant have been the role models whom we all look up to in Thailand.

They set the path for us and they helped me a lot. I owe it them. I didn’t have a swing coach before. I used to just go out and play. But now I am working with Pete Cowen. He has helped me a lot. I kind of know what I am doing out on course now and why things went wrong in the past.

Winning the Singapore Open is a great achievement. I always think Serapong is the best golf course on the Asian Tour. I played good here since I first came here three years ago. It suits my game a lot. The greens are very tough this year. 

I am going home to celebrate with my family tonight. My dad went for a surgery recently and I really want to see him now and share this trophy with him. 

Prom Meesawat (Tha) – Final round 68 (-3), Total 275 (-9)

I had a good feeling coming back here. I have had a couple of good results here before. It’s nice to be going back to play in The Open this July which will be my second appearance in a Major. I am very happy. 

The birdie on the last was very important for me.i had a very tough third shot actually. I didn’t lay up good from my position but I just told myself to try and hit the green because you never know if I can make the putt.

When the putt went in, I felt really good. It makes it very special this week. The first time I played in a Major was at The Open in 2011. We played Royal St. George that year. I still remember that feeling. It’s a completely different tournament.

The feeling is very different, especially playing in The Open which is one of the greatest Major. I had my past experience from that time. I have been trying to go back again every year since. I am glad I finally had the chance to play The Open again now.

It’s always nice to be going back to play on a links golf course. I have played a lot of it when I played on the European Tour. I love to play with the wind. I have good experiences playing on the European Tour as well. I knew I had to birdie the last hole to ensure my ticket.

Doyeob Mun (Kor) – Final round 72 (+1), Total 275 (-9)

This is my first time playing the Singapore Open. I think I had some good luck this week. I am pleased with my top-10 finish and also securing a ticket to The Open. It will be my Major debut. I am really excited. 

I think the Albatross and the eagle that I made in my second round yesterday gave me a great boost in confidence heading into the last two rounds. That helped me to cap a good result this week. I am very glad to be able to play The Open.

I am looking forward to it. I will be practicing a lot on my low shots and prepare myself well for it. It’s amazing. I have been wanting to play in a Major tournament ever since I started playing golf. My dream finally came true.

I haven’t been to the United Kingdom before. This will be my first time. We have some links course in Korea but I think it’s pretty different. 

Sergio Garcia (Esp) – Final round 68 (-3), Total 276 (-8)

I felt like the two back nines yesterday and today put me out of the race. For being the first week [of the year] I guess it was a decent week. I felt like the way I was in the ball, if I would’ve been a little bit more fortunate with the putter, the first three rounds I could’ve had a better chance. Today I was doing really well, and then I had four bad holes on the back nine. But other than that, it was good. 

Obviously you want to start better, but it’s a tough golf course even though the guys are not making it look like it. It’s a challenging golf course and I hit a really good amount of good shots. I hit some that need to be better, but overall it was positive. 

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