Sentosa, Singapore, December 31: Before 2019 comes to a close, let’s relive all the best action and highlights of the season.
This is #whereitsAT
Pattaya, Thailand, December 22: Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond signed off from his 2019 Asian Tour season just like the way he started when he cruised to a commanding five-shot victory at the Thailand Masters on Sunday.
It has been a stunning year for the 24-year-old as he triumphed again for the second time in two weeks after closing with a six-under-par 65 at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club.
Jazz got off to a flying start when he won the Asian Tour’s season-opener in Singapore in January. 12 months later, he would end the year by capturing his sixth Asian Tour title and fourth this season on home soil.
Jazz’s winning total of 23-under-par 261 at a venue which he won before too meant he will break into the top-40 on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), a target he had set out to achieve at the start of the week.
Compatriot Suradit Yongcharoenchai tried to surmount a late challenge by firing seven birdies and one eagle for a 62 but it was still not enough to catch the 2019 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion on a day where he was simply unstoppable.
Surdait ended his last event of the year by sharing second place with compatriot Phachara Khongwatmai and Belgium’s Thomas Detry while American Berry Henson also enjoyed his second top-10 of 2019 with a tied-seventh finish at the Thailand Masters.
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Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) Fourth round 65 (-6) Total 261 (-23)
It’s a huge honour to win on home soil and especially at an event promoted by the Jaidee Foundation. To be honest, I didn’t expect to win last week as I was not feeling too well as it was really cold in Japan and I had to adjust myself back to the weather conditions in Indonesia. I was struggling at the start of the week. It was the same this week too as I was really tired. But I guess it was about survival as I was in the zone and didn’t want to think too much about my score. It is indeed a very good year. I had four wins this year and I ended the year the way I started. I don’t think I was actually cruising towards another win today as I was really tired and made some silly mistakes. But I managed to recover well and it was really nice to close with round with that long birdie putt from 15 feet. I set myself small realistic goals so that I can achieve them and I’m glad I managed to achieve that this week.
Suradit Yongcharoenchai (Tha) Fourth round 62 (-9) Total 266 (-18)
It has been a very good year for me and even better to finish it off with such a good score too. I cannot ask for more. I won once already at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters and ended the year inside the top-10 on the Asian Tour Order of Merit. My goals are definitely going to be higher for 2020 and I’m looking forward to another win again.
Thomas Detry (Bel) Fourth round 69 (-2) Total 266 (-18)
Today was a bit frustrating, I never really got anything going. I played pretty well, one of my best days to be honest. A lot of very good tee shots but couldn’t really make any putts or build any momentum on the golf course. So that was about it. I’m flying back home tonight. You know, I was trying to take this week as a holiday but it was actually a bit more tiring than a holiday. I still finished second which is not bad for a holiday. I’m going to go back home and spend some time with my family and put my mind away from the golf course for a few days.
Berry Henson (Usa) Fourth round 65 (-6) Total 269 (-15)
It was a much needed result and really satisfying. I played well on the first day and then my back began to stiffen and I was really struggling on Friday and Saturday. Thank goodness Thongchai had a party last night, I had a few beers and was dancing. Then my back loosen up and I felt really good today! So maybe I need a Thongchai party every week on Tour and continue shooting 65s. I played two really nice rounds this week and my ball striking and putting are slowly coming around.
Pattaya, Thailand, December 21: Thailand’s Jazz Janewattanond stormed up the leaderboard with a sensational 11-under-par 60 to take a one-shot lead over Belgium’s Thomas Detry after the third round of the season-ending Thailand Masters on Saturday.
After rounds of 69 and 67 at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club, Jazz finally shook off his lethargy to find himself in a familiar position atop the leaderboard again with his three-day total of 17-under-par 196.
Detry remained in outright second place for the second consecutive day after he returned with a 66 while overnight leader Phachara Khongwatmai slipped to third place with a 69.
American Sihwan Kim signed for a 66 to head into the final round in fourth place while Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena made his move by returning with a 65 to share fifth place with the Thai trio of Gunn Charoenkul, Panuphol Pittayarat and Suteepat Prateeptienchai.
Playing in his last event for the year, Jazz roared back to life just like how he did in Jakarta last weekend.
The 2019 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion started the day six shots off the pace in tied-19th place but flew under the radar very quickly when he birdied the second hole before going on a seven-hole birdie blitz starting from the par-four six.
The 24-year-old lit up his card again with another birdie on 15 before play was suspended for close to two hours due to lightning activities.
When it resumed, Jazz birdied 16 and 17 before signing off for the day with a par on 18.
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Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) Third round 60 (-11) Total 196 (-17)
I didn’t even know my score until I walked into the score recording area. I was wondering why everyone was asking me if I had birdied the last hole until I realized I was just one shot away from a 59. To be honest, my mind was pretty blank even when I sank birdie after birdie. I knew I was playing good and my putting was good. I just know I needed to hit onto the green and my putter will take care of everything else. I didn’t expect my round to be so good as I’m really tired. I was struggling to finish in my first two rounds. Luckily play was suspended for a while today and I managed to get some rest. It’s my last event of the year and I’ll just give it my best tomorrow.
Thomas Detry (Bel) Third round 66 (-5) Total 197 (-16)
My round is pretty average compared to Jazz. I saw his name creeping up the leaderboard and he was unbelievable. He was just one shot short of 59. I played pretty good but it could have been better. I think tomorrow’s going to be a big day. I beat Jazz twice in the first two days and I’m planning on beating him again tomorrow. He’s a great player and a really nice guy and it will be a fun battle tomorrow. But there are still several other good players around and I’m sure lots of things will happen tomorrow.
Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) Third round 69 (-2) Total 199 (-14)
On the front-nine, I missed just a little bit with my driver and got very bad lies, and then Istruggled a little bit with my putter. It was very tough with the pin positions today. I missed on the bad side, and then it was difficult to make birdies. But it’s ok I had a good finish with two birdies in the last three holes. Tomorrow, my key is just my putting. If I make a lot of putts, maybe I have a chance. But I just need to play my own game and not think too far ahead.
Miguel Tabuena (Phi) Third round 65 (-6) Total 201 (-12)
To be honest, I’m not surprised with the way Jazz has played today. We are so used to seeing his name on the top of the leaderboard and today was no different. It’s pretty crazy with the kind of golf he’s playing now. He’s number one on the Order of Merit for a reason. But for me, I’m pretty happy with how I got myself back into this tournament. Anything can happen in golf and it depends on how they set up the pin positions tomorrow too. I’m still in contention and hopefully something special can happen.
Pattaya, Thailand, December 20: Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai knows he has to continue to stay patient after carding a second round seven-under-par 64 to hold a one-shot lead over Belgium’s Thomas Detry at the season-ending Thailand Masters on Friday.
While he has yet to achieve his breakthrough on the Asian Tour, the 20-year-old Thai remains optimistic of his chances as he is coming into the week on the back of a rich vein of form with three top-six finishes in his last three events.
Starting his round on the 10th hole, Phachara stormed off the blocks quickly with two birdies in his opening three holes. He added another birdie on 16 before storming home with four more birdies to sign for a two-day total of 12-under-par 130 at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club.
Overnight leader Detry beat fatigue to remain in contention by returning with a 68 to take second place while Thai rookie Kosuke Kamamoto also put himself in the mix by matching Phachara’s 64 for outright third place.
Chinese Taipei’s Wang Wei-hsuan showed his promising talent when he carded a 67 to make his move up the leaderboard in the morning.
Wang turned professional only this year and showed he could be one of the rising stars to look out as he heads into the weekend tied for fourth.
The weekend cut was set at two-under-par with 84 players progressing into the final two rounds.
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Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) Second round 64 (-7) Total 130 (-12)
I was very focused the last two days. I told myself not to get distracted and just concentrate on my game. Even when I made a mistake, I told myself to just forget it and move on. Just play better on the next hole. I’ve my friends and family with me this week and that’s important. They cheer me and I feel very motivated. I try not to think about winning yet although I know I’m in a good position now. Most important is to stay focused again this weekend and hopefully, something good will happen.
Thomas Detry (Bel) Second round 68 (-3) Total 131 (-11)
Although I finished with a bogey, I’m still in a very good position heading into the weekend rounds. I have not been feeling too well and I got tired towards the end of my round. But I’m still happy with the way I finished. I was one-under at one point but managed to make some birdies to lift myself up back into the game again. I’m going to have a good night sleep now and be fresh for the weekend.
Kosuke Hamamoto (Tha) Second round 64 (-7) Total 132 (-10)
It’s really nice to see my name up there on the leaderboard especially after missing the cut in Jakarta last week. Ball striking wise, there was not much difference but I did well with my putter. I actually forgot to bring my original putter to the course this week but I managed to find one at the back of my car and my caddie just asked me to try that putter. Once I tried it, I felt good and I’ve been using that putter ever since. Even though I’ve not won anything yet, I’m very pleased with my consistency. I just want to do my best for this week and let the rest take care of it by itself.
Wang Wei-hsuan (Tpe) Second round 67 (-4) Total 133 (-9)
I just turned professional this year and it has been a huge learning curve so far. I’m happy with how I’ve played so far and it’s good when you have a chance to play against some very good players in the field this week. I’m playing on a sponsor’s invitation this week and want to make good use of this opportunity. I want to benchmark myself against these good players and see where my game stands. So far, it has been very good.
Haydn Porteous (Rsa) Second round 66 (-5) Total 134 (-8)
This is my first time in Thailand and I’m loving every minute of it. Everything has been very well organized and the weather’s awesome. And obviously playing good golf here also helps. It has been a tough couple of seasons for me. It has been really slow but I’m slowly but surely finding back my game. It’s really pleasing to see my name up there for now. When Thongchai askes you to come, it’s really really hard to turn a nice guy like him down. I’m going to spend Christmas and New Year in Thailand.
Pattaya, Thailand, December 20: Chinese Taipei’s Wang Wei-hsuan showed his promising talent when he carded a second round four-under-par 67 to make his move up the leaderboard at the season-ending Thailand Masters on Friday.
The 20-year-old turned professional only this year and showed he could be one of the rising stars of the game to look out for if he continues to play to his full potential.
With an eye on earning his Asian Tour card at Qualifying School next month, Wang is keeping his focus on getting a good result at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club first.
“I just turned professional this year and it has been a huge learning curve so far. I’m happy with how I’ve played so far and it’s good when you have a chance to play against some very good players in the field this week.
“I’m playing on a sponsor’s invitation this week and want to make good use of this opportunity. I want to benchmark myself against these good players and see where my game stands. So far, it has been very good,” said Wang.
South Africa’s Haydn Porteous also ensured he would head into the weekend rounds in the mix after signing for a 66.
Porteous is searching for his first win since 2017 and is pleased to see glimpses of his old form returning.
“This is my first time in Thailand and I’m loving every minute of it. And obviously playing good golf here also helps. It has been a tough couple of seasons for me. It has been really slow but I’m slowly but surely finding back my game. It’s really pleasing to see my name up there for now,” said Porteous.
Singapore, December 20: Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond has confirmed he will be returning to defend the SMBC Singapore Open title he won in stylish fashion in January.
The 24-year-old Jazz jumped 12 places to 45th in the Official World Golf Ranking – sealing a coveted spot at The Masters – after his runaway win in the Indonesian Masters, his third success on the Asian Tour this year and fifth overall.
With his confidence sky high, Jazz will take on Major winners Justin Rose of England and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, American Matt Kuchar – buoyed by securing the half point that assured the United States retained the Presidents Cup – and the finest players from the Asian and Japan Tours at Sentosa Golf Club from January 16-19, 2020.
“After winning in Singapore (SMBC Singapore Open) and breaking into the top-100, my next goal was top 50. I am really happy to achieve it. Maybe next goal is top-40?,” said Jazz after his Indonesian Masters victory.
“It’s been a very fulfilling year so I am excited about what lies ahead in 2020 (with the defence of the SMBC Singapore Open title coming early in the year).”
Jazz made a fast start to 2019 by holding off challenges from Ryder Cup men Paul Casey and Matthew Fitzpatrick and the highly rated Yoshinori Fujimoto of Japan to win the SMBC Singapore Open in January.
He became the youngest winner of the Singapore Open and his 18-under-par 266 went into the record books as the tournament’s best ever four-round total.
“I got emotional, but happy emotional (at the victory). I was like ‘wow, I actually did it’. I could not believe that I beat Paul Casey down the stretch or Matthew Fitzpatrick who was in my group. It kind of boosted the confidence in me a little bit for sure,” he said.
“The last day at (SMBC Singapore Open) has got to be my (best) round (ever). I did not think I had a chance of winning – I was (111th) in the world and never had a big win before.
“It was definitely one of the best tournaments of my life, so far.”
After his win at Sentosa Golf Club, Jazz won the Kolon Korea Open in June followed by the Indonesian Masters.
His previous victories came at the Bangladesh Open in 2017 and the Queen’s Cup on home soil in 2018, successes that marked him down as a player to watch.
Jazz, who turned professional just ahead of his 15th birthday, topped the Asian Tour moneylist for 2019 with winnings of US$968,524 ahead of this week’s season-concluding Thailand Masters.
Also during an outstanding year, Jazz tied for 14th spot at the PGA Championship and had a string of top-10 finishes on the Asian and Japan Tours.
The SMBC Singapore Open is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation.