Kuchar shows mental toughness to win the SMBC Singapore Open – Asian Tour

Kuchar shows mental toughness to win the SMBC Singapore Open


Sentosa, Singapore, January 19: American Matt Kuchar put up a inspirational performance that demonstrated his mental fortitude when he overcame a calamitous triple-bogey on the seventh hole by charging back with three birdies in his back-nine to win the SMBC Singapore Open on Sunday.

Despite a host of Asian Tour stars including defending champion and 2019 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Jazz Janewattananond piling the pressure on him, Kuchar showed he has the resilience to bounce back on the day that matters most at the Serapong course, Sentosa Golf Club.

Matt Kuchar of the USA 

Holding a three-shot lead at the start of the day, Kuchar extended his lead to four with his first birdie on four. However, the American ran into trouble on the par-five seventh when his tee shot came up against the root of a tree and he missed the ball on his first attempt to punch it out from the trees.

The nightmare continued when his approach shot flew left of the green, hit a cart path and went out of bounds. After hitting his sixth shot onto the front of the green, Kuchar eventually managed to hole a crucial putt from 10-feet for a triple-bogey eight.

But Kuchar mounted his comeback in his back-nine with birdies on 11 and 16 as his closest rivals fell by the wayside. The galleries then roared in unison as he went on to sink a birdie putt from almost 20 feet to win the iconic Singapore event with a final round one-under-par 70.

Former world number one Justin Rose of England finished in second place after posting a four-day total of 15-under-par 269 while Jazz took outright third place with a closing 71 at the US$1 million event which is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).

Korean teenager Joohyung Kim signed for a 71 to take fourth place along with one of the four tickets to The Open at Royal St. George’s in July. The other three spots went to Canada’s Richard T. Lee, Thailand’s Poom Saksansin and Japan’s Ryosuke Kinoshita.

SINGAPORE- L-R – Joohyung Kim of Korea, Poom Saksansin of Thailand, Richard T.Lee of Canada and Ryosuke Kinoshita of Japan Open Qualifiers pictured on Sunday January 19,2020, during the final round of the SMBC Singapore Open at the Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore. The USD$ 1 million event is co- sanctioned with the Asian Tour and Japan Tour, January 16-19, 2020. Picture by Paul Lakatos/Lagardére Sports.Did you know?

  • With his victory, Matt Kuchar became the seventh American winner since the Singapore Open was inaugurated in 1961. The others are Shaun Micheel (1998) Kurt Cox (1980), Tom Sieckman (1984), Greg Bruckner (1988), Bill Israelson (1992), John Kernohan (1996).
  • Kuchar’s four-day total of 18-under-par 266 matched Jazz Janewattananond’s lowest winning score in 2019.
  • Jazz was seeking to be the second player after Australia’s Adam Scott to successfully retain the Singapore Open title.
  • In his last five starts on the Asian Tour, Jazz has posted three top-10s and two victories.
  • Kim won three times on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) to earn his promotion to the Asian Tour in 2019. He went on to clinch the Panasonic Open India title in November last year.
  • Richard T. Lee is a two-time Asian Tour winner. He won his maiden title at the Solaire Open in 2014 and claimed his second victory at the Shinhan Donghae Open in 2017.
  • His last professional win came in April 2019 when he won The 15th DB Insurance Promy Open on the Korean PGA Tour.
  • Lee will be making his second Major appearance at The Open in July. He finished as runner-up at his qualifier to earn entry to the 2007 U.S. Open, becoming the second youngest golfer in the 107-year history of the tournament.
  • Poom’s Saksansin’s final round 65 was the day’s lowest score. His tied-sixth finish is his first top-10 since he won the Indonesian Masters in 2018.
  • Poom was making his third appearance at the SMBC Singapore Open this week. He has never missed the cut and his previous results were tied-24th in 2019 and tied-12th in 2018.

Ends.

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