Asian Tour rookie Todd Sinnott of Australia secured a convincing three-shot victory at the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open on Sunday in only his second tournament in Asia.
The 25-year-old Sinnott fired a flawless six-under-par 65 for a winning total of 14-under-par 270 to defeat Carlos Pigem of Spain, who closed with a 68 at the US$750,000 event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.
After hitting six balls into the water in the opening two rounds, Sinnott had to fight tooth-and-nail to make the halfway cut. He moved from 40th position to tied fourth after the third day and cruised to victory thanks to six birdies in the final round.
Sinnott was three-under after 12 holes but it was a pair of birdies on 13 and 14 which put him in contention. As his challengers slipped down the leaderboard, he had a comfortable three-shot cushion heading into the last hole where he sealed the deal with a birdie.
Pigem, who won his first Asian Tour title last year, produced three straight birdies after the ninth hole to charge into contention but slipped back when he double bogeyed the 12th hole. A birdie on the last handed him his best finish since winning in Chinese Taipei in July, 2016.
Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines birdied the closing two holes to finish on a 69 after dropping a double bogey on the third hole. He finished in tied third place alongside Koreans K.T. Kim (65) and Sungjae Im (71) on 274 at the Pun Hlaing Golf Club.
Overnight leader Yusaku Miyazato of Japan stumbled to a disappointing 73 as he finished in a share of sixth place, five shots from the champion Sinnott.
Interesting facts of the day:
- Todd Sinnott earned his Asian Tour card at Qualifying School in Thailand two weeks ago. He shot a final round 10-under-par 62 and was defeated in a play-off to countryman Richard Green. He said the experience in Qualifying School helped him in his Myanmar success.
- Sinnott is the second fastest rookie to win after Chris Rodgers who won the 2006 Pakistan Open. In that same year, Kane Webber also won his first Asian Tour title in only his second event on the region’s premier Tour.
- Sinnott is the first Asian Tour rookie to win since Danthai Boonma of Thailand won in Singapore in 2015.
- In total, Sinnott hit seven balls into the water this week – four on the first day, two on the second day and one in the final round where he saved par on the fourth hole. He was 13-under during the weekend and only dropped one shot in the final 36 holes.
- Sinnott holds the joint course record of 64 at the Pun Hlaing Golf Club with Yusaku Miyazato of Japan. This is also his first appearance in Myanmar.
- This is the first time Carlos Pigem has finished second since joining the Asian Tour in 2013. It is also the Spaniard’s 11th top-10 result on the Asian Tour.
- Miguel Tabuena double bogeyed the third hole after his tee shot landed in the bunker. The young Filipino said he hit a good tee shot and was praised by his playing partners before finding out that the ball landed in an awkward lie.
Todd Sinnott (Aus) – Final Round 65 (-6), Total 270 (-14)
It is a fantastic day to get my first win as a professional. I birdied two in a row on 13 and 14 and when I did that I knew that if I finish strongly I would have a good chance at winning. I knew where I was the whole day and knew what I had to do to get up with the leaders and keep pushing on. I was really focussed the whole day to try and shoot the lowest score that I could shoot.
With eight holes to go in the second round, I was three-over-par in the tournament and I managed to birdie two holes and eagle one of the holes so I was four-under in the last eight. I know the course suits me. You need to be on the fairways all the time to attack the greens. I can hit it a lot higher than most of the guy out here and put the spin on the ball. I knew I could shoot a couple of low numbers during the weekend but I didn’t think I would win.
I feel a little bit relieved to get that first win. Excited and pretty proud as well. I’m proud with the way I played today.
I hit six balls into the water in the first two rounds (four on the first day). Today I hit one shot on the fourth hole. It landed on the bank and rolled back into the water. I was able to drop near the green and made par.
Qualifying School was two weeks ago but that was huge for me because I shot 10-under in the last round and lost in a play-off. To actually shoot that number in the last round that gave me a lot of confidence coming into today. The main objective during that week (Qualifying School) was to get my card but I was disappointed not to win after coming close. Losing at Qualifying School hurt a little bit but it proved that I can shoot a low number on the last day.
Carlos Pigem (Esp) – Final round 68 (-3), Total 273 (-11)
It was a very exciting week. I didn’t play well in Singapore but this week I played pretty good. Today I missed one shot and that cost me a lot. I was trying to fight but I Todd (Sinnott) made putts so he deserved to win. I hit it into the water on the 12th hole. I have nothing to regret today. I hit one bad shot but I’ll continue fighting in the next two weeks.
Miguel Tabuena (Phi) – Final Round 69 (-2), Total 274 (-10)
I’m proud of myself for sticking in there. It was a nightmare start. I told myself that I’m hitting it really well. I actually hit a good shot on the third hole but had a double bogey. I’m really glad with the way I’m hitting the ball. It is something to be positive about in the next few weeks.
I caught the bunker on the par-three third hole. I thought I hit a really good shot. Todd and Carlos said great shot but I just caught the bunker and I had a really bad lie.
Scores after round 4 of the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open 2017 being played at the par 71, 7103 Yards Pun Hlaing GC course (am – denotes amateur):
270 – Todd SINNOTT (AUS) 72-69-64-65.
273 – Carlos PIGEM (ESP) 70-67-68-68.
274 – Sungjae IM (KOR) 70-69-70-65, Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 67-69-69-69, K.T. KIM (KOR) 66-69-68-71.
275 – Azuma YANO (JPN) 65-72-70-68, David OH (USA) 70-67-69-69, Yusaku MIYAZATO (JPN) 67-64-71-73.
276 – Rikuya HOSHINO (JPN) 69-68-72-67, Satoshi KODAIRA (JPN) 70-68-69-69, Shubhankar SHARMA (IND) 70-68-69-69, Kyungnam KANG (KOR) 69-67-70-70, Daniel CHOPRA (SWE) 67-71-68-70, Sihwan KIM (USA) 66-70-68-72.
277 – Matthew GRIFFIN (AUS) 69-71-71-66, Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 70-71-70-66, Keith HORNE (RSA) 66-68-74-69, Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN) 71-65-72-69, Adam BLAND (AUS) 73-67-66-71.
278 – Michio MATSUMURA (JPN) 69-67-72-70, HUNG Chien-yao (TPE) 72-69-67-70.
279 – Hyungsung KIM (KOR) 71-72-69-67, Hideto TANIHARA (JPN) 70-72-69-68, Casey O’TOOLE (USA) 69-70-71-69.
280 – Makoto INOUE (JPN) 66-69-75-70, Johannes VEERMAN (USA) 72-70-68-70, Thitiphun CHUAYPRAKONG (THA) 69-70-70-71.