Sentosa, Singapore, May 6: Finland’s Janne Kaske took a great leap on the Habitat for Humanity standings after marking his best result on the Asian Tour at The 38th GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship on Sunday.
Despite missing out on his breakthrough victory, Kaske took solace in his runner-up finish as it propelled him to seventh place on the Merit rankings and allowed him to virtually secure his playing rights for the 2020 season.
The 32-year-old Finnish held up admirably through 72 holes of regulation play to force extra time with Korea’s Taehee Lee on a nine-under-par 275 total.
The duo went head-to-head till the third play-off hole, held on the par-four 18th, where Kaske was eventually eliminated after a bad break left him with a difficult approach to the green while Lee prevailed with a birdie putt from six feet.
“We kept giving our chances away. I hit a good drive on the third play-off hole but landed in a sandy divot. I had a terrible lie and I couldn’t get in contact with the ball but Lee hit it nicely from the fairway to birdie the hole and win the tournament.
“It looked like I was going to win it pretty easily at some point. But then I started to make stupid mistakes and it looked like he was going to win it. I think we switched the lead about five times in the last hour,” said Kaske, who took home a prize purse of US$106,719.
After missing the mark in his second attempt at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2015, Kaske decided to switch his focus to the Asian Development Tour (ADT) where he would claim two victories that year.
Kaske grinded it out on the region’s secondary circuit for three years before a solid season of eight top-10 finishes led him to finish in fifth place on the 2018 ADT Order of Merit and secure his Asian Tour card for the 2019 season.
With his foot firmly on the gas pedal, Kaske will make another attempt at a breakthrough victory at the Asia-Pacific Open Diamond Cup, which gets underway at the Sobu Country Club in Japan this week.
“This result should help me keep my card for next year as well. Obviously, I would have loved to win but my goal for this year was to keep my card so I’ll take the second-place finish.
“It was good to give myself a chance but I don’t know what to say right now. I can’t analyse this anymore, it is still a good result for me and my best result on the Asian Tour so far,” added Kaske.
Young Thai talent Jazz Janewattananond was pleased to inch closer to Merit leader Scott Hend, as he took home US$31,701 thanks to his tied-19th finish at the Volvo China Open.
Australian Hend, who came in tied-65th in China, now leads by US$56,235 over Jazz with his current haul of US$527,531 on the money list.
“My goal this week was to get my momentum going before the PGA Championship because I haven’t been playing that well lately and I feel I can do better. I missed the cut in India by one shot so that was not fun. But I made the cut this week and I need momentum like that to be on form,” said Jazz, who will make his debut at the PGA Championship next week.
After capping a successful week with two events in China and Korea, the Asian Tour will head to Japan for the Asia-Pacific Open Diamond Cup this week.
The event, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO), will see a talented field of 144 players vying for a prize purse of ¥150,000,000 (US$1,338,000) at the Sobu Country Club from May 9 to 12.
Top-20 players on the Habitat for Humanity Standings
Pos Player Order of Merit (US$)
1 Scott HEND (AUS) $527,530.94
2 Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) $471,295.40
3 Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN) $249,266.67
4 Zach MURRAY (AUS) $197,444.91
5 Johannes VEERMAN (USA) $158,720.00
6 David LIPSKY (USA) $137,309.79
7 Janne KASKE (FIN) $106,719.00
8 Prom MEESAWAT (THA) $91,980.10
9 Scott VINCENT (ZWE) $90,546.66
10 Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) $87,509.11
11 Berry HENSON (USA) $78,774.09
12 S. CHIKKARANGAPPA (IND) $77,128.12
13 Yuta IKEDA (JPN) $74,749.19
14 Ajeetesh SANDHU (IND) $70,801.84
15 Paul PETERSON (USA) $67,402.25
16 Sadom KAEWKANJANA (THA) $63,000.00
17 Jarin TODD (USA) $62,241.25
18 Gavin GREEN (MAL) $61,189.13
19 Ben CAMPBELL (NZL) $55,648.48
20 Adilson DA SILVA (BRA) $55,108.36