Published on April 6, 2019
Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 6: Young Thai talent Sadom Kaewkanjana became the record fastest Qualifying School graduate to win on the Asian Tour after surviving a nail-biting finish to clinch the US$350,000 Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open by one shot on Saturday.
Sadom, playing in his first Asian Tour start this season, extended his overnight two-shot lead to four with two opening birdies but had to fend off the spirited challenge from India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu after dropping three consecutive bogeys from the 13th to blow the title race wide open.
The 20-year-old Thai, however, fought back gallantly with successive birdies on 16 and 17 to give himself a one-shot advantage over Sandhu, who dropped his first bogey in 63 holes on the par-five 17, heading into the last at the Kurmitola Golf Club.
After hitting his tee shot on the par-four 18 to behind the tree on the left, Sadom chipped it back to the middle of the fairway before hitting to about eight feet. He would eventually nail that par putt to close with a one-under-par 70 and a winning total of 19-under-par 265.
Sadom, who joined the play-for-pay ranks last December, was thrilled to produce a dramatic turnaround in the closing stage to claim his first Asian Tour victory and a second win as a professional after breaking through on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) in February.
With this win, he would also become the third Thai after Thitiphun Chuayprakong (2016) and Jazz Janewattananond (2017) to win the National Open of Bangladesh, which is celebrating its fifth consecutive edition on the Asian Tour this week.
Sandhu, a one-time Asian Tour winner, closed with a second straight 65 to take second place while his compatriot Rashid Khan capped a second straight top-10 finish on the region’s premier Tour after battling to a 70 to settle two shots back in third.
Australia’s Maverick Antcliff posted a 70 to finish in fourth place on 272 while Jazz, highest-ranked player in the field this week, settled a further shot back in tied-fifth after closing with a 69. Zamal Hossain Mollah emerged as the best-placed Bangladeshi for the second year straight after closing with a 65 to finish in tied-10th place.
Sadom will take home a winner’s prize purse of US$63,000 and receive 14 Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points, thanks to his victory.
The Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open 2019 welcomed a new title sponsor in the National Bank Ltd, a public limited bank in Bangladesh. The tournament has been named in honour of the father of the nation of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Did you know?
- Sadom Kaewkanjana carded the lowest round in the tournament history when he shot a stunning 62 in the second round to lead by three at the halfway stage. He went on to shoot a 68 in the third round to take a two-shot lead heading into the all-important final round.
- Sadom became the fastest Qualifying School graduate to win on the Asian Tour following his victory at the Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open. The record was previously held by Australian duo Kane Webber and Todd Sinnott who won in their second starts after coming through the Qualifying School in 2006 and 2017 respectively.
- Sadom secured his 2019 Asian Tour card in his first attempt at the Qualifying School last December. He is making his debut appearance at the Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open which is also his first start on the Asian Tour this season.
- He turned professional at the end of 2018 and broke through on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) after claiming his first professional victory at the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation in February.
- Sadom enjoyed a tied-sixth finish on the Asian Tour when he played the 2018 Queen’s Cup presented by Bangchak as an amateur last year.
- Sadom enjoyed an illustrious amateur career prior to joining the play-for-pay ranks. He was ranked as high as 10th position on the Official World Amateur Rankings and his amateur wins include the 2017 Malaysian Amateur Open, 2017 All Indian Amateur and the 2018 Dutch International Junior Open. Also won the 2017 Singha Pattaya Open on his domestic circuit as an amateur.
- Sadom first played at the Kurmitola Golf Club as an amateur four years ago. He came in second at the 30th Bangladesh Amateur Golf Championship.
- Ajeetesh Sandhu is a one-time winner on the Asian Tour. A week after claiming his first Asian Tour title in Chinese Taipei in 2017, Sandhu went on to win the Taiheiyo Club Challenge Tournament on the Japan Challenge Tour.
- The 30-year-old Sandhu claimed three top-10 finishes in 2018 to finish in 28th position on the Habitat for Humanity Standings.
- After opening his campaign with three bogeys in eight holes, Sandhu stayed bogey-free for 62 holes before dropping his fourth bogey of the week on the 71st hole at the 2019 Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open.
- Rashid Khan, who turned professional in 2010, is a two-time winner on the Asian Tour. He won twice in Thailand and India in 2014.
- Khan has been enjoying a good run of form since winning on his domestic circuit in Mumbai last December. He won again in Bangladesh last month before claiming a solid top-10 finish at the Hero Indian Open last week.
- Khan’s third-place finish at the Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open would be his second straight top-10 finish on the Asian Tour this season. He came in tied-10th in his National Open at the Hero Indian Open last week.
- Zamal Hossain Mollah emerged as the best-placed Bangladeshi for the second year straight after closing with a 65 to finish in tied-10th position. He enjoyed a tied-fourth place finish last year.