Sadom gets rookie season off to a winning start at Bangabandhu Cup

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Young Thai talent Sadom Kaewkanjana became the record fastest Qualifying School graduate to win on the Asian Tour after surviving a nail-biting finish to clinch the US$350,000 Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open by one shot on Saturday.  

Sadom, playing in his first Asian Tour start this season, extended his overnight two-shot lead to four with two opening birdies but had to fend off the spirited challenge from India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu after dropping three consecutive bogeys from the 13th to blow the title race wide open.

The 20-year-old Thai, however, fought back gallantly with successive birdies on 16 and 17 to give himself a one-shot advantage over Sandhu, who dropped his first bogey in 63 holes on the par-five 17, heading into the last at the Kurmitola Golf Club.

After hitting his tee shot on the par-four 18 to behind the tree on the left, Sadom chipped it back to the middle of the fairway before hitting to about eight feet. He would eventually nail that par putt to close with a one-under-par 70 and a winning total of 19-under-par 265.

Sadom, who joined the play-for-pay ranks last December, was thrilled to produce a dramatic turnaround in the closing stage to claim his first Asian Tour victory and a second win as a professional after breaking through on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) in February.

With this win, he would also become the third Thai after Thitiphun Chuayprakong (2016) and Jazz Janewattananond (2017) to win the National Open of Bangladesh, which is celebrating its fifth consecutive edition on the Asian Tour this week.

Sandhu, a one-time Asian Tour winner, closed with a second straight 65 to take second place while his compatriot Rashid Khan capped a second straight top-10 finish on the region’s premier Tour after battling to a 70 to settle two shots back in third.

Australia’s Maverick Antcliff posted a 70 to finish in fourth place on 272 while Jazz, highest-ranked player in the field this week, settled a further shot back in tied-fifth after closing with a 69.

Zamal Hossain Mollah emerged as the best-placed Bangladeshi for the second year straight after closing with a 65 to finish in tied-10th place.

Sadom will take home a winner’s prize purse of US$63,000 and receive 14 Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points, thanks to his victory.

The Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open 2019 welcomed a new title sponsor in the National Bank Ltd, a public limited bank in Bangladesh. The tournament has been named in honour of the father of the nation of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Did you know?

  • Sadom Kaewkanjana carded the lowest round in the tournament history when he shot a stunning 62 in the second round to lead by three at the halfway stage. He went on to shoot a 68 in the third round to take a two-shot lead heading into the all-important final round.
  • Sadom became the fastest Qualifying School graduate to win on the Asian Tour following his victory at the Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open. The record was previously held by Australian duo Kane Webber and Todd Sinnott who won in their second starts after coming through the Qualifying School in 2006 and 2017 respectively.
  • Sadom secured his 2019 Asian Tour card in his first attempt at the Qualifying School last December. He is making his debut appearance at the Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open which is also his first start on the Asian Tour this season.
  • He turned professional at the end of 2018 and broke through on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) after claiming his first professional victory at the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation in February.
  • Sadom enjoyed a tied-sixth finish on the Asian Tour when he played the 2018 Queen’s Cup presented by Bangchak as an amateur last year.
  • Sadom enjoyed an illustrious amateur career prior to joining the play-for-pay ranks. He was ranked as high as 10th position on the Official World Amateur Rankings and his amateur wins include the 2017 Malaysian Amateur Open, 2017 All Indian Amateur and the 2018 Dutch International Junior Open. Also won the 2017 Singha Pattaya Open on his domestic circuit as an amateur.
  • Sadom first played at the Kurmitola Golf Club as an amateur four years ago. He came in second at the 30th Bangladesh Amateur Golf Championship.
  • Ajeetesh Sandhu is a one-time winner on the Asian Tour. A week after claiming his first Asian Tour title in Chinese Taipei in 2017, Sandhu went on to win the Taiheiyo Club Challenge Tournament on the Japan Challenge Tour.
  • The 30-year-old Sandhu claimed three top-10 finishes in 2018 to finish in 28th position on the Habitat for Humanity Standings.
  • After opening his campaign with three bogeys in eight holes, Sandhu stayed bogey-free for 62 holes before dropping his fourth bogey of the week on the 71st hole at the 2019 Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open.
  • Rashid Khan, who turned professional in 2010, is a two-time winner on the Asian Tour. He won twice in Thailand and India in 2014.
  • Khan has been enjoying a good run of form since winning on his domestic circuit in Mumbai last December. He won again in Bangladesh last month before claiming a solid top-10 finish at the Hero Indian Open last week.
  • Khan’s third-place finish at the Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open would be his second straight top-10 finish on the Asian Tour this season. He came in tied-10th in his National Open at the Hero Indian Open last week.
  • Zamal Hossain Mollah emerged as the best-placed Bangladeshi for the second year straight after closing with a 65 to finish in tied-10th position. He enjoyed a tied-fourth place finish last year.

Players’ quotes:

Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA) – Final round 70 (-1), Total 265 (-19)

Winning in my first start on the Asian Tour, I feel very happy. I will take a lot of positives from this week and this win will give me a lot of confidence in my game as well. It’s been an unbelievable journey since turning professional last December.

My initial goal was just to keep my Asian Tour card for the next season but now I have won on both the Asian Development Tour and the Asian Tour. I am really happy. I didn’t expect to do so well. I finished second here in an amateur event four years ago. It’s good to come back and get that win now as a professional. I will remember all the good memories here.

I started well today. I got lucky with my second shot. I managed to hit it to within 10 feet and made that birdie putt on the first. I went on to sink a 20-footer for birdie on the next hole which gave me a lot of confidence heading into the round. I had a good par-save on the third as well from 15 feet.

My putter, however, went cold after the first three holes but thankfully I got it back in my closing three holes. I wasn’t feeling the nerves actually. I was just thinking about making birdies, especially after dropping three bogeys in-a-row. I told myself I need to make birdies to get it back. I am glad I did it.

I made the birdie putt from about 10 feet on the 16 and then a 20-footer for birdie on 17 to regain a one-shot lead. After hitting it to behind the tree on the last, I was just trying myself to try and make putt from there. I chipped my second shot back to the middle of the fairway and hit it to the right of the pin and made the par putt from there.

I am happy to win on my first start. I will have to work harder to get even better after this.

Ajeestesh Sandhu (Ind) – Final round 65 (-6), Total 266 (-18)

I knew what I had to do when I started out. I actually did what I needed to so I am quite happy with that. I just made a mistake on one hole. I haven’t made any bogey in three and a half days. It’s not that I played the hole bad. I just missed out on the putt.

I knew I had a one-shot lead after the birdie on 14 but nothing changed for me then. I played 15 and 16 pretty well but I knew I had to probably make one more birdie coming in. I didn’t manage to do that but overall, it’s been a great week, considering how I started the week with three bogeys in my opening eight holes.

If someone had told me I would finish second at the start of the week, I would have taken that. I have been playing well for awhile now. I just didn’t have good finishes. It’s good to cap a good finish this week. A win would have been nice but it’s alright. I will take a couple of weeks off to rest before going to Volvo China Open.

Rashid Khan (Ind) – Final round 70 (-1), Total 267 (-17)

I started alright. I hit it close to give myself opportunities to make birdies on the first few holes. I hit a few good shots but couldn’t hole the putts. It was all good.

I expected it to be better but it’s fine. I just made some mistakes out there but otherwise, I am happy. Overall, it’s still a good finish for me.

Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) – Final round 69 (-2), Total 273 (-11)

It’s been a good week although I didn’t manage to bring my ‘A’ game out there. I am really happy to come back here to play Kurmitola this week. It treated me well in 2017 but kind of bite back this time round but still, all is good.

It’s good to cap another top-five finish for the season. It’s always nice to finish inside top-five. It could have been better. I left so many shots out there. The season’s been really good for me so far. It’s been tiring too but I have been playing a lot.

I am looking forward to take a few weeks off and prepare for my season on the Japan Golf Tour and my next Asian Tour event at the Volvo China Open.

Zamal Hossain Mollah (Ban) – Final round 65(-6), Total 275 (-9)

I missed a lot of short putts there today. I could have done better. But I hit the ball really well. It’s the best I have done this week so I am still very happy with my round today. This is my home course and I have an advantage here. I am happy with another good finish here.

Scores after round 4 of the Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open being played at the par 71, 6642 Yards Kurmitola GC course (am – denotes amateur):

265 – Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA) 65-62-68-70.

266 – Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND) 70-66-65-65.

267 – Rashid Khan (IND) 66-64-67-70.

272 – Maverick Antcliff (AUS) 63-70-69-70.

273 – Wei-lun Wang (TPE) 65-72-71-65, Jazz Janewattananond (THA) 65-71-68-69, Jack Harrison (ENG) 68-67-68-70.

274 – Trevor Simsby (USA) 66-70-71-67, Berry Henson (USA) 68-67-69-70.

275 – Md. Zamal H. Mollah (BAN) 72-66-72-65, Mikumu Horikawa (JPN) 67-67-74-67.

276 – Suttijet Kooratanapisan (THA) 68-73-69-66, Karandeep Kochhar (IND) 69-67-70-70, Siddikur Rahman (BAN) 66-68-68-74.

For final results and earnings, please click here.

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