Sekito completes stunning victory at Gunung Geulis

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Japan’s Naoki Sekito completed a convincing 11-shot victory at the inaugural Gunung Guelis Golf Invitational supported by Nomura to claim his second Asian Development Tour (ADT) victory on Friday.

The 21-year-old Sekito, who led from start to finish, entered the final round with a comfortable eight-shot lead and ran away with his second title of the season after closing with a five-under-par 65 and a winning total of 22-under-par 258 at the Gunung Geulis Golf and Country Club.

Thailand’s Kwanchai Tannin posted a 68 to take second place while his compatriots Atiruj Winaicharoenchai (64) and Chonlatit Chuenboonngam (65) came in third and fourth place on 270 and 272 respectively at the US$75,000 event.

Sekito cemented his lead atop the ADT Order of Merit with his runaway victory, which saw him take home a winner’s prize purse of US$13,125 and receive six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points.

“I can’t explain how happy I am right now. I didn’t expect myself to win twice at the start of the season. I know I just need one more win on the ADT to gain playing rights on the Asian Tour for the remainder of the season so that is my next goal now.

“The ADT has been a great training ground for me. I don’t get to play a lot of four-day events back home so it’s good to be able to hone my skills on the ADT. The standard of play here is high-level too so I definitely learned and benefit a lot from playing on the ADT,” said Sekito.

Sekito set a new course record at the east course when he opened his campaign with a 62. He pulled away from the field by carding rounds of 67 and 64 before firing six birdies against a bogey for a closing 65.

“The overnight eight-shot lead did help me stay calm and composed out there today but I told myself to just focus on reaching my target of 20-under-par. I did that and it felt really good,” added Sekito.

After turning professional at the start of 2018, Sekito attempted to secure his Asian Tour card at the Qualifying School but an unsuccessful bid saw him switch his focus to the ADT, where he missed only three cuts in 13 starts and notched a top-five result.

Sekito endured another futile attempt at the 2019 Qualifying School but an invite to the PGM UMW ADT Championship earlier in March turned his career around as he capped a commendable joint runner-up finish in what was his first start on the ADT this season.

He would extend his fine form to the PGM ADT Penang Championship in April where he claimed a one-shot victory for his first ADT title and the Butra Heidelberg Cement Brunei Championships the following week, where he finished solo second.

Sekito continued to taste success on the region’s secondary circuit as he notched another tied-second place finish in Malaysia last month to take over the Order of Merit lead from Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat.

Sekito leads the Order of Merit now with a season’s haul of US$42,595 following his victory in Indonesia, widening the gap between him and second-placed Itthipat to more than US$14,000.

For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.

Leading final round scores:

258 – Naoki Sekito 62 67 64 65

269 – Kwanchai Tannin 69 66 66 68

270 – Atiruj Winaicharoenchai 70 68 68 64

272 – Chonlatit Chuenboonngam 69 69 69 65

275 – Daniel Fox 71 65 72 67, Shinichi Mizuno 65 71 71 68

276 – Suradit Yongcharoenchai 69 69 73 65

277 – Peradol Panyathanasedh 69 68 71 69, Hyukchul Shin 68 73 67 69

278 – Kasidit Lepkurte 73 67 72 66, Miguel Carballo 66 72 69 71, Chinnarat Phadungsil 71 69 67 71

279 – Suttijet Kooratanapisan 70 75 66 68, Nirun Sae-Ueng 70 69 72 68, Kosuke Hamamoto 70 72 67 70, Rory Hie 69 70 69 71

280 – Matt Killen 69 71 71 69, Witchayanon Chothirunrungrueng 72 68 71 69, Namchok Tantipokhakul 72 70 67 71

For full results, earnings and latest Order of Merit, please click here.

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