Sentosa, Singapore June 24: Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond continued his ascend in the world of golf with yet another winning performance at the Kolon Korea Open Golf Championship over the weekend.
The 23-year-old displayed the maturity and composure of a seasoned professional to win his fourth and second Asian Tour title of the year to regain his position atop the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings and also elevated his status to a career-high of 52nd place on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).
Jazz’s victory at the Kolon Korea Open saw him become the first foreigner to break the Korean dominance since American Rickie Fowler won their National Open in 2011.
It also allowed him to move back to the number one spot on the Order of Merit after being overtaken by Scott Hend when the Australian won the Maybank Championship in Malaysia in March.
It will also increase his chances of making Captain Ernie Els’ International Team at the President’s Cup in Melbourne this December.
“I am really proud of myself that I manage to get the job done. It’s good to be back at the top on the Asian Tour Order of Merit now but it’s still a long way to go this season. I am not sure what Scott (Hend) plans to do now that he saw me winning but if he does come back to challenge, I’m sure it will be an interesting battle,” said Jazz.
At 14 years and 71 days, Jazz already began to show the world glimpse of his raw talent when he became the youngest-ever player to make the halfway cut at the 2010 Asian Tour International in Bangkok.
He may have faced several roadblocks in his career including finishing outside the top-60 on the Order of Merit in 2016 and missing the grade at the 2017 Asian Tour Qualifying School.
But the young Thai has shown great resilience by bouncing back each time the odds were stacked against him.
He got his career back on track with a morale-boosting win at the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open in 2017 and has gone on to win at least once every year since then.
Jazz savoured a home victory at the Queen’s Cup in 2018 before lifting the season-opening SMBC Singapore Open trophy in January this year.
“I guess those setbacks helped in my game as you need them to bring out success,” said Jazz.
Apart from raking up four other top-10s on the Asian Tour this season, Jazz also enjoyed a remarkable tied-14th place finish at the PGA Championship last month which was the best-ever result achieved by a Thai player at the PGA Championship.
A borrowed putter from Zimbabwean Scott Vincent also proved to be his magical wand. He enjoyed back-to-back top-five finishes on the Japan Golf Tour in the last three weeks before tasting success again in the Land of the Morning Calm.
“I’ve been using this long putter since two weeks ago in Japan where I came in tied-third. This is not my putter. I borrowed it from Scott Vincent. I am feeling very good with it so I don’t have any plans on returning it to him now,” laughed Jazz.
Vincent, who secured his third top-10 finish of the season after closing with a 68 at the Kolon Korea Open, meanwhile remains in ninth place on the money list and is pleased his generosity has been one of the catalyst for allowing Jazz to orchestrate all the right moves lately.
“Yes, Jazz is using my putter this week. We might have to renegotiate our contract (laughs). But no, he’s going to keep it. He’s doing really well with the long putter and I am very happy for him,” said the Zimbabwean, who claimed his first international victory on the Japan Challenge Tour a fortnight ago,
Jazz, along with a host of leading players from the Asian Tour, will be back in action at The 148th Open which will be held at Royal Portrush from July 18-21.
Top-20 players on the Habitat for Humanity Standings
Pos Player Order of Merit (US$)
1 Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) $738,093.21
2 Scott HEND (AUS) $527,530.94
3 Taehee LEE (KOR) $274,023.14
4 Yosuke ASAJI (JPN) $272,638.11
5 Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN) $249,266.67
6 Zach MURRAY (AUS) $204,670.05
7 Johannes VEERMAN (USA) $174,441.87
8 Micah Lauren SHIN (USA) $164,552.31
9 Scott VINCENT (ZWE) $159,882.11
10 David LIPSKY (USA) $137,309.79
11 Prom MEESAWAT (THA) $109,799.97
12 Janne KASKE (FIN) $106,719.00
13 Dongkyu JANG (KOR) $104,405.57
14 Berry HENSON USA) $104,342.21
15 Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) $87,509.11
16 Sadom KAEWKANJANA (THA) $87,433.65
17 S. CHIKKARANGAPPA (IND) $77,128.12
18 Yuta IKEDA (JPN) $74,749.19
19 Sanghyun PARK (KOR) $71,906.58
20 Ajeetesh SANDHU (IND) $70,801.84
Cheonan, Korea, June 23: Rising star Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand held his nerves to claim his fourth Asian Tour victory and a second one this season at the 62nd Kolon Korea Open Golf Championship on Sunday.
Jazz, who extended his overnight two-shot lead to five after sinking three birdies in his opening seven holes, overcame a wild triple-bogey on the par-four 11th hole and a bogey on 14th to become the first foreign winner of the prestigious event since American Rickie Fowler in 2011.
The 23-year-old Jazz signed for a closing one-over-par 72 to win by one shot over Korea’s Innchoon Hwang with a six-under-par 278 total in the KRW 1,200 million (approximately US$1,067,000) event, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Korea Golf Association (KGA).
Despite missing out on his second Asian Tour victory, Hwang took pride in his runner-up result, which not only marked his best finish in his National Open but also earned him a coveted spot at The Open next month where he will be making his Major debut.
He will be heading to Royal Portrush with compatriot Dongkyu Jang, who closed with a 72 to finish tied-fourth in the event, which offered two spots to The Open to the leading two players (not otherwise exempt) finishing in the top-eight and ties as part of The Open Qualifying Series.
American Chan Kim, who played on a sponsor’s invitation, marked his best efforts of the week with a closing 68 to settle two shots back of Jazz in third place while Korea’s Minjoon Kim matched his final round efforts to grab a share of fourth on 281.
The second qualifying spot went to Jang, thanks to his higher position in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) than Kim.
Did you know?
Cheonan, Korea, June 23: Innchoon Hwang and Dongkyu Jang have secured their places in The 148th Open after qualifying at the KOLON Korea Open.
The KOLON Korea Open was played at Woo Jeong Hill Country Club in Cheonan and was the seventh event in The Open Qualifying Series, which gives golfers around the world opportunities to book their place at Royal Portrush from 14-21 July 2019.
Two places were available to the leading players who finished in the top 8 and ties and who were not already exempt.
Jazz Janewattananond, who was already exempt from qualifying for The Open after winning the SMBC Singapore Open in January, lifted his fourth title on the Asian Tour after topping the leaderboard on a six-under-par total of 278.
Hwang will make his debut in The Open and first major championship appearance after finishing runner-up one stroke behind Janewattananond on a five-under-par total of 279. The Korean, who has five professional wins including the GS Caltex Maekyung Open on the Asian Tour, carded a one-under-par round of 70 that included three birdies to clinch the first available qualifying place.
Chan Kim finished in third place on four-under-par for the championship and had already qualified for The Open, meaning that the second qualifying spot went to Jang thanks to his higher position in the Official World Golf Ranking than Minjoon Kim.
The Korean pair finished in a tie for fourth place on a three-under-par total of 281 but it will be Jang, who last qualified to play in golf’s original championship at Royal Liverpool after winning the 2014 Gateway to The Open Mizuno Open, who will take his place in the starting field at Royal Portrush next month.
The next two events in The Open Qualifying Series are the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation in Spain and the Rocket Mortgage Classic in the United States of America. Both events are being played from 27-30 June.
Photo Credit: The R&A/Getty Images
Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) – Final round 72 (+1), Total 278 (-6)
I’m really honoured to win the National Open of Korea. This is a really tough course. I got away with most of it but still struggled towards the end. I got off to a good start today and I was like flying until that triple-bogey.
It has happened to me earlier at the PGA Championship. I was playing well on the front nine as well. The exact same thing happened. I made the same easy mistake to make a big number and couldn’t recover. I thought I learned well from my experience at the PGA Championship.
I told myself not to think about it and just keep moving forward. Made another bogey on 14 unfortunately but I told myself to just grind it out and try not to make anymore big numbers. The course is really hard. I got away at the end of the day but not unscathed.
There aren’t many scoreboards out there but I knew I had a one-shot lead heading into the last because someone shouted. I knew I just need to make a par there but then I was thinking he might make birdie so I hit my driver down anyway.
I hit it in the rough though but I saw he miss the putt when I stood in the rough. Then I told myself to lay up now, hit it close but didn’t make that birdie putt unfortunately. I knew from the start that Rickie Fowler was the last foreigner to win this tournament in 2011.
It’s really a huge honour to win the National Open of Korea and become the next one after Rickie. It just shows how strong the players on the Korean Tour are. I did feel the nerves out there, especially after that triple-bogey. I didn’t know what was going on for a moment.
I am really proud of myself that I manage to get the job done. It’s good to be back at the top on the Asian Tour Order of Merit now but it’s still a long way to go this season. I am not sure what Scott (Hend) plans to do now that he saw me winning but if he does come back to challenge, I’m sure it will be an interesting battle.
Innchoon Hwang (Kor) – Final round 70 (-1), Total 279 (-5)
The main goal for today was to win the tournament of course. I tried my best and the end result is a runner-up finish. I am happy with my result and I am excited to go to The Open Championship next month. I’m really looking forward to playing at Royal Portrush.
The Open was a championship I grew up watching on television and always wanted to play in so to qualify today is unbelievable. It’s a great honour to be playing in my first major championship and it is something that all golfers dream about.
Chan Kim (Kor) – Final round 68 (-3), Total 280 (-4)
It was a tough round. There are a lot of tough pins out there. To be honest, the conditions are better. The roughs aren’t that long so you can actually get it on the greens or somewhere close. The key for this week was to be able to get up and down. Whoever can do that will do well.
I made a few good par-saves today. On the 11th, after making a bogey on 10th, I chipped it to about seven-feet and made that. Hit a good shot from the rough on 12th and made a five-footer for birdie there. Made a few more putts after that which was nice.
The game’s been feeling good. It’s nice to secure another top-three finish. Hopefully I can get a win soon.
Dongkyu Jang (Kor) – Final round 72 (+1), Total 281 (-3)
I last played in The Open in 2014 when I won the Mizuno Open and back then I didn’t really know what to expect from links golf but I am sure that the experience will count in may favour at Royal Portrush and I’m really looking forward to it.
I’m also looking forward to playing in front of the Irish fans who are very passionate about golf and who hopefully will give me lots of support when I play there.
Scott Vincent (Zim) – Final round 68 (-3), Total 285 (+1)
I played well today. I did so many things well, a lot better than how I did the last three days. I hit nine fairways today and that gave me some opportunities to attack the pins, instead of playing defensive.
It was nice to hit that many fairways and make a good score from there. It’s good to finish the week with a good round. Coming off a victory in Japan, I had a few high expectations so it was great to play well.
The course is very tough this week as you can see from the scores. You knew it was going to play tough so you just had to get your mind right before you start the day.
Yes, Jazz is using my putter this week. We might have to renegotiate our contract (laughs). But no, he’s going to keep it. He’s doing really well with the long putter and I am very happy for him.
Cheonan, Korea, June 22: Thai rising star Jazz Janewattananond put himself in prime position to secure a fourth Asian Tour title after carding a two-under-par 69 to grab a two-shot lead following the penultimate round of the Kolon Korea Open Golf Championship on Saturday.
The 23-year-old Jazz, who started the round one shot back, fired five birdies against three bogeys on a tough scoring day to move atop the leaderboard with a three-day total of seven-under-par 206 at the Woo Jeong Hills Country Club.
Songgyu Yoo emerged as the highest-placed Korean in second place after signing for a 69. His compatriots Dongkyu Jang (69) and overnight leader Innchoon Hwang (73) shared third place on matching 209s in what is their National Open.
American Berry Henson and Thailand’s Prom Meesawat surged into a share of fifth place with local duo Kyongjun Moon (70) and Soomin Lee (71) on 210, thanks to superb finishes on the 570-yard par-five 18th hole.
Henson soared with an eagle on the last where he made a 30-footer from off the green for a 69 while Prom coolly sank a 35-foot long birdie putt for a battling even-par 71 at the KRW 1,200 million (approximately US$1,067,000) event.
Despite stumbling with an outward four-over-par 40, Korean American Kevin Na bounced back with four birdies on his way home, including three straight ones from the 10th hole. He would sign for a 71 to sit in ninth place with Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai (74) on 211.
The 62nd Kolon Korea Open Golf Championship, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Korea Golf Association (KGA), is part of The Open Qualifying Series for the third year in a row.
Two spots to The 148th Open at Royal Portrush will be awarded to the leading two players (not otherwise exempt) finishing in the top-eight and ties.
Did you know?