Sweden’s Malcolm Kokocinski secured an inspiring victory after closing with a six-under-par 65 to win by three shots for his first Asian Tour title at the AB Bank Bangladesh Open on Saturday.

Kokocinski, a regular on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) where he leads the current Order of Merit, overturned a three-shot deficit after returning with his best efforts of the week to cap a winning total of 14-under-par 270 at the Kurmitola Golf Club.

The 26-year-old Kokocinski, who is based in Thailand, takes home a winner’s prize purse of US$54,000, courtesy of his breakthrough win on the Asian Tour, which also marked his second professional victory since joining the play-for-pay ranks in 2012.

Overnight leader Jack Harrison of England endured two closing bogeys for a 71, settling for a share of second place with fellow Qualifying School graduate Ben Campbell of New Zealand, who carded a 69, in the US$300,000 Asian Tour event.

American John Catlin capped back-to-back top-10 finishes on the region’s premier Tour after closing with a 66 to finish five shots back in tied-fourth place with Zamal Hossain Mollah, who emerged as the highest-ranked local player following a 69.

The Bangladesh Open welcomed a new title sponsor in AB Bank, leading bank in Bangladesh, in its fourth consecutive edition on the Asian Tour this week. The highly-acclaimed Kurmitola Golf Club, which hosted two other events on the ADT this season, continues to provide top-class hospitality as the home of the Bangladesh’s National Open.

Did you know?

  • Malcolm Kokocinski is the second Swede to win in three weeks on the Asian Tour, following Alexander Bjork at the Volvo China Open.
  • Kokocinski also became the third consecutive first-time winner at the Bangladesh Open, following Thailand’s Thitiphun Chuayprakong and Jazz Janewattananond in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
  • Kokocinski missed only three fairways and needed only 25 putts on the greens for his closing round of 65.
  • After missing the mark at the Asian Tour Qualifying School earlier in January, Kokocinski returned to ply his trade on the ADT and has enjoyed a superb season on the secondary circuit, although without a win.
  • The 26-year-old Swede leads the current ADT Order of Merit with a season’s haul of US$25,026, thanks to five top-10s in six starts this season.
  • He claimed two of his five top-10s on the ADT at the Kurmitola Golf Club. He came in runner-up at the Dhaka Open in January and finished tied-third at the BTI Open two weeks ago.
  • Kokocinski becomes the seventh player following American Berry Henson, Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei, Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert and Poom Saksansin, as well as Malaysian duo Gavin Green and Nicholas Fung, to win on the Asian Tour after enjoying successes on the ADT, which was inaugurated as the gateway to the Asian Tour in 2010.
  • Kokocinski missed the cut in his first attempt at the Bangladesh Open in 2015. He finished tied-14th in 2016 and did not play in the last edition.
  • Kokocinski first came to Asia in 2013 where he played on the ADT after failing to make the mark at the Asian Tour Qualifying School. He came through the Qualifying School for the first time after finishing fifth in 2016 but failed to retain his card for the following season after ending the season in 71st place on the Order of Merit.
  • His best finish on the Asian Tour, prior to his breakthrough win, came at the 2016 Shinhan Donghae Open where he came in tied-fourth.
  • Jack Harrison secured his Asian Tour card for the 2018 season after finishing tied-15th at the Asian Tour Qualifying School, which was played over five rounds (90 holes) across two courses in Thailand earlier in January. It was his second attempt at the Qualifying School since 2013.
  • Harrison, who turned professional in 2011, is playing in his first start as an Asian Tour rookie this week. He also plays on the Sunshine Tour, where he enjoyed a tied-sixth place finish at the Cape Town Open in February.
  • Like Harrison, Ben Campbell also came through the Asian Tour Qualifying School earlier in January to earn his card for the 2018 season. It was his first time making the mark in four attempts since 2011.
  • The 26-year-old Campbell is making his third start on the Asian Tour this season but playing in his first attempt at the Bangladesh Open this week.
  • John Catlin is a two-time winner on the ADT. He finished third on the 2017 ADT Order of Merit to earn his Asian Tour card for the 2018 season.
  • Zamal Hossain Mollah is playing on his home course this week. He secured his best ever result in his National Open after finishing tied-fourth this week. His previous best result was a tied-seventh place finish in 2016.

Players’ quotes:

Malcolm Kokocinski (Swe) – Final round 65 (-6), Total 270 (-14)

This win means a lot to me. I don’t have a status on the Asian Tour before this week so I am really pleased with how I played here to win. I have been playing well the last couple of months. I knew my game was good so I just had stick to my game plan and hit some good shots coming down the stretch.

I stayed patient out there. I was playing well all week so I knew a good round will come sooner or later. It was a big putt for me on the last hole. I knew Harrison was on -13 after looking at the leaderboard coming down the 18th. I’m glad I pulled off the putt. This will give me a lot of confidence for the future. The goal now is to win more trophies!

It’s really nice to perform under pressure. I knew a birdie on the last would put me up there. I wasn’t really thinking about winning. I was just focused on hitting good strokes to give myself a chance. I played in the last group for the first time on the Asian Tour yesterday and I didn’t play as good as I did today. I had a lot of lip-outs yesterday.

I guess playing in the second last group today helps lessen the pressure a bit. I am very happy with how I performed this week. I have been getting a lot of encouragements from my peers out here around the golf course this week as well as the members and staff of the club.

It was nice to be back at the Kurmitola Golf Club this week. This is my third time here this year. I came twice earlier for the ADT events and I played very well. That experience has definitely given me a lot of advantage and confidence.

Coming to play on the Asian Tour didn’t feel very different from playing on the ADT actually. I knew I was playing well so I just wanted to play my own game and not think about anything else. It’s been a great week. The people are very friendly here.

I went back to the Qualifying School earlier this year but didn’t make the grade so I went to play on the ADT. I have had some good results on the ADT so I decided to stay in Asia and see what the year has to offer. My experiences from playing on the ADT has helped a lot. I have been in these situations before so I knew I had to focus on my shots to get the job done. I’m glad I pull in off this time.

I would like to dedicate my win to my best friend Colin, who just had a new baby, and my parents back home, who are very happy for me, and all my friends. It’s been a couple of years in Asia. I have enjoyed all the travelling. The ADT is a good platform for me to get onto the Asian Tour and from the Asian Tour, I have more opportunities to get on the bigger Tours as well.

I am from Sweden but both my parents are from Poland. I started playing golf when I was 10 years old. I went to college in the United States and then came here to play on the Asian Tour in 2013 and I’ve been here since then.

Ben Campbell (Nzl) – Final round 69 (-2), Total 273 (-11)

It’s a great finish. I came into the week thinking I might be able to complete the tournament as I had a back injury. So to finish joint-second this week feels really good. I have a lot of positives to take out from this week. I chipped it really well.

My tee shots were good too although I lost it a little bit on the back nine. It was close and I look forward to heading to China next week for the Asia Pacific Classic. I hope to get some practice and do what I need to work on. It’s always good to get a good start to the season so I can’t complain.

I didn’t really get off to a good start today. It was tough around the greens. I knew I had to make some birdies but my chipping was good. I hit a lot of fairways too and gave myself a lot of chances.

Jack Harrison (Eng) – Final round 71 (even-par), Total 273 (-11)

I can’t complain with a tied-second place finish in my first start on the Asian Tour. A little bit disappointed for not getting the win but there is always a winner and a loser. Overall, it was a great week and I am very happy.

I was just trying to stay calm out there and I did that pretty nicely today. I kind of pushed a little bit too hard towards the end. On the 17th hole, I pulled my tee shot left to behind the trees and ended up making bogey. On the 18th, I put myself in a hopeless position to make par really.

Zamal Hossain Mollah (Ban) – Final round 69 (-2), Total 275 (-9)

I didn’t putt well today. It was disappointing. I could’ve finish way better if I had sunk a few more putts. I hit my tee shots and my second shots very good today but I wasn’t able to make putts, which was really a pity.

I was just aiming to play my best today. I was hitting it good. I couldn’t have easily post a six or seven-under-par round today if my putts had dropped. I will be happier if I can win the tournament but to finish tied-fourth for my best result in the Bangladesh Open, I’ll take it.

I have high expectations for myself this week because I’m playing on my home course. This is where I practise and hone my game. I would like to thank AB Bank for their support and also my home course Kurmitola Golf Club for their commitment in the Bangladesh Open.

Scores after round 4 of the AB Bank Bangladesh Open 2018 being played at the par 71, 6642 Yards Kurmitola Golf Club course (am – denotes amateur):

270 – Malcolm KOKOCINSKI (SWE) 68-66-71-65.

273 – Ben CAMPBELL (NZL) 70-66-68-69, Jack HARRISON (ENG) 66-69-67-71.

275 – John CATLIN (USA) 67-70-72-66, Zamal Hossain MOLLAH (BAN) 69-65-72-69.

276 – Berry HENSON (USA) 69-68-71-68, Honey BAISOYA (IND) 71-67-69-69, Suttijet KOORATANAPISAN (THA) 71-64-70-71.

277 – Settee PRAKONGVECH (THA) 70-69-69-69, M DHARMA (IND) 66-71-68-72.

279 – David GLEESON (AUS) 69-73-72-65, Thammanoon SRIROJ (THA) 70-68-71-70, Mithun PERERA (LKA) 70-67-66-76.

280 – Kazuki HIGA (JPN) 68-71-73-68, Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 69-72-71-68, Badal HOSSAIN (BAN) 71-67-73-69, Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA) 68-71-71-70, Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 71-66-72-71, Divyanshu BAJAJ (IND) 67-69-70-74.

281 – Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 71-72-69-69, Rashid KHAN (IND) 71-67-70-73.

282 – Kurt KITAYAMA (USA) 73-70-70-69, Chanachok DEJPIRATANAMONGKOL (THA) 73-69-71-69, Shakhawat SOHEL (BAN) 73-70-71-68, Jack WILSON (AUS) 74-69-72-67.

283 – Peradol PANYATHANASEDH (THA) 71-72-70-70, Janne KASKE (FIN) 74-67-72-70, Anura ROHANA (LKA) 69-69-74-71, Rory HIE (INA) 69-69-74-71, Paul HARRIS (USA) 70-66-75-72, Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) 72-69-70-72, Veer AHLAWAT (IND) 71-71-74-67, Lionel WEBER (FRA) 70-68-71-74.

*Check out the final standings for the 2018 AB Bank Bangladesh Open and the updated Habitat for Humanity Standings here

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