Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond won for the first time in nearly three years today when he triumphed in the US$1.5 million International Series Morocco after a brilliant eagle, birdie finish at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam.
The 2019 Asian Tour number one closed with a fine six-under-par 67 to finish on 12 under and beat Canadian Richard T. Lee by one stroke.
Lee, who missed a 16-foot birdie putt on the last to force a play-off, shot a 70 while Spaniard David Puig fired a 73 to finish third, a stroke further back.
Jazz, playing in the third from last group having started the day four shots behind overnight leader Puig, burst through to victory thanks to a stunning five-under-par back nine.
He made birdie on 11 and 15 but it was the short and driveable par-four 17th that proved to be pivotal. Lee, playing in the final group, had appeared to be in control and on course to win for much of the back nine but that all changed when Jazz found the green with his tee shot on 17 and holed a 20-foot eagle putt.
The Thai golfer then drew level with Lee after holing a five-footer for birdie on the par-five 18th. To the surprise of everyone Lee then dropped a shot on 17, the easiest hole on the course, after finding trees off the tee before failing to draw level with Jazz on the last.
“It feels amazing. It’s been a long journey and I’m just so happy to end the year on a high note,” said Jazz, whose girlfriend and fellow professional golfer Sarina Schmidt caddied for him this week.
“I had three holes left and I wasn’t even nearly at the top. I just had a really good finish – everything was really quick. When that last putt dropped I just felt so relieved, the waiting game begun, and now I’m here!”
He last won in December of 2019 at the Thailand Masters, which was one of his four wins that year.
“It’s been a long time since my last trophy – since before COVID. Now everything’s changed, I’ve found my way through and we’re here,” said the Thai, who has now tasted victory on seven occasions on the Asian Tour.
“This was my first time in Morocco and the city of Rabat has been amazing – the culture, the food the people, everything. I heard a lot about this golf course already from people I play with and I knew it was going to be hard, but it’s exceeded all my expectations. I’ve been out nine weeks in a row and I’m tired now and my back’s hurting, but I came in with an open mind to exploring Morocco and Rabat, and I think that helped me win, because I didn’t come in with high expectations.”
Lee had been attempting to claim his third title on Tour and his first since 2017 but had to settle for his second runner-up finish of the season as he was also second in the International Series Singapore in August.
“I looked at the leaderboard on 17 and then saw that Jazz was at 12 under and finished his round. So, I mean, I just wanted to make birdie on the last hole to try to tie and make the playoff,” said Lee, who led at the halfway mark thanks to a second day 65.
“I bogeyed the first hole with a three putt, just started off bad and then came back with four birdies in a row from six to nine and felt the rhythm going pretty well. Then just an unforced error on 17 on the tee shot, got unlucky and got behind the tree and had no shot to the green. So, I mean, it caused me to make a bogey and just… stuff happens, you know?”
Zimbabwean Scott Vincent finished in fourth, three behind the winner, after carding a 71, while his brother Kieran (74), Japan’s Jinichiro Kozuma (66), Korean Taehoon OK (67) and Kiradech Aphibarnrat from Thailand (70) were equal fifth, one shot further back.
The Asian Tour visits Egypt next week for the first time for the US$1.5 million International Series Egypt at Madinaty Golf Club, from November 10 to 13.
Scores after round 4 of the International Series Morocco being played at the par 73, 7600 Yards Royal Golf Dar Es Salam course (am – denotes amateur):
280 – Jazz Janewattananond (THA) 71-70-72-67.
281 – Richard T. Lee (CAN) 72-65-74-70.
282 – David Puig (ESP) 70-70-69-73.
283 – Scott Vincent (ZIM) 70-71-71-71.
286 – Jinichiro Kozuma (JPN) 72-73-75-66, Taehoon Ok (KOR) 71-73-75-67, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 70-74-72-70, Kieran Vincent (ZIM) 73-75-64-74.
287 – Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA) 70-73-71-73, Erik Compton (USA) 72-70-71-74.
288 – Chase Koepka (USA) 71-71-75-71.
289 – Ryo Hisatsune (JPN) 75-72-75-67, Kosuke Hamamoto (THA) 73-69-76-71.
290 – Ian Snyman (RSA) 72-77-74-67, Todd Sinnott (AUS) 70-72-73-75, Steve Lewton (ENG) 68-73-73-76, Berry Henson (USA) 71-73-70-76, Scott Hend (AUS) 71-69-72-78.
291 – Sam Brazel (AUS) 74-74-71-72, Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA) 70-71-75-75, Jaco Ahlers (RSA) 72-73-70-76, Turk Pettit (USA) 73-73-68-77.
292 – Doyeob Mun (KOR) 75-75-72-70, Sarit Suwannarut (THA) 69-76-74-73, Jeunghun Wang (KOR) 70-74-74-74, Nitithorn Thippong (THA) 67-72-76-77, Cole Madey (USA) 67-76-72-77.
293 – Ayoub Lguirati (MOR) 74-73-74-72, Sihwan Kim (USA) 74-75-71-73, Poom Pattaropong (THA) 74-74-71-74, Kevin Yuan (AUS) 70-76-72-75.
294 – Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND) 74-76-72-72, Poom Saksansin (THA) 71-77-72-74, S.S.P. Chawrasia (IND) 73-74-73-74, Karandeep Kochhar (IND) 75-74-74-71, Phachara Khongwatmai (THA) 73-71-75-75.
295 – Travis Smyth (AUS) 77-69-74-75, Settee Prakongvech (THA) 74-73-73-75, Trevor Simsby (USA) 69-75-73-78.
296 – James Piot (USA) 72-76-74-74, Bio Kim (KOR) 73-76-73-74, Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 74-72-76-74, Viraj Madappa (IND) 75-74-73-74, Danny Masrin (INA) 69-76-78-73, Ben Leong (MAS) 77-72-75-72, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (THA) 75-75-74-72.
297 – Neil Schietekat (RSA) 71-78-73-75, Hung Chien-yao (TPE) 72-75-74-76, Aman Raj (IND) 74-73-74-76, Atiruj Winaicharoenchai (THA) 73-76-73-75.
298 – Miguel Tabuena (PHI) 76-70-74-78, Lu Wei-chih (TPE) 70-72-77-79, Chan Shih-chang (TPE) 75-73-76-74, Taehee Lee (KOR) 76-73-70-79, Seungtaek Lee (KOR) 75-73-78-72, Benjamin Follett-Smith (ZIM) 73-76-77-72, Jakraphan Premsirigorn (THA) 73-77-78-70.
299 – Brett Rumford (AUS) 76-73-71-79, Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA) 76-67-79-77, Sam Broadhurst (ENG) 75-73-76-75.
300 – Wade Ormsby (AUS) 73-75-75-77.
301 – Prom Meesawat (THA) 72-78-73-78, Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 73-75-77-76, Kasidit Lepkurte (THA) 75-73-78-75.
302 – Keith Horne (RSA) 75-74-73-80, Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (ESP) 75-72-78-77.
304 – Jack Harrison (ENG) 76-74-76-78, Minchel Choi (KOR) 74-76-78-76, Miguel Carballo (ARG) 74-76-82-72.
306 – Jordan Duminy (RSA) 76-74-76-80.