In a thrilling finish to the Angkor Four Ball Championship 2018, Australia’s Neville Hogan and Zakary Hastings pipped Amish Jaitha and Khusaal Thackersey in a sudden death playoff.
The Aussies deprived the Indian cousins of their fourth successive triumph in this growingly popular event at the Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap on Sunday evening.
After 36 holes of regulation play the top two pairs were evenly poised on five under par.
Defending champions Jaitha and Thackersey were pegged back in the run home by the Australians, who reeled off three birdies in the closing five holes to get on level terms and give themselves a shot at the title in the first ever sudden death tie-breaker in the 10-year history of the Sir Nick Faldo-designed course.
While the Indian cousins could ruefully look back to missed opportunities on the back nine, the Aussies stoically closed a three-shot gap that brought the two teams to a playoff hole at the 18th until the winner was sighted.
Remarkably, it took six playoff holes before the Australians broke the deadlock and claimed the title in front of a raucous crowd of players, spectators and AGR staff .
Jaitha and Thakersey appeared the more composed, halving the first hole with solid pars. But they missed a 12ft putt on the second and with it a chance to claim their fourth title.
Both teams had openings to seal victory but failed to sink the winning putt.
‘Icing on the cake’
After halving the 18th hole three times, the players then proceeded to play the 10th, 17th and 18th. Supported by their countrymen, Hogan and Hastings sensed a break was coming and on the sixth extra hole they held their nerve to secure victory.
“We’ve had an amazing few days here at Angkor Golf Resort and to leave with the title is the icing on the cake.
“Amish and Khushall are quality players and made life difficult for us. It could have gone either way today and we’re delighted to have crossed the line. We look forward to defending in 2019,” Neville said.
Jaitha and Thackersey were gracious in defeat and remained in high spirits, congratulating the winners on their determined fightback.
AGR director of golf David Baron said: “They had their families with them here in Siem Reap and had a great time. They were a bit frustrated to let their lead slip during regulation play but took it in their stride that anything can happen in a playoff.”
“I was pleased with the way the event unfolded and produced such a fantastic finish. We try our best to leave no stone unturned with our preparations and the team did a great job.’’ he said.
In the net division, the overall title went to Steve Kemp and Lewis Hood of Australia, who got off to a flying start in round one with an impressive 65 (-7) and followed up in round two with 71 (-1) to claim the title by two shots.
In second place, two shots adrift on -6, were Moh Kam Wah and Steven Law of Singapore.
A shot further back on -5 were regular Aussie contenders Mark Penfold and Scott Hayley, who took third on a countback from compatriots Andrew Nicholson and Brendan Leadbetter, who also finished on -5.
In fifth place was local pairing Lee Hong and Chhin Chan Sangha on -4, with another local duo, Im Reahul and Sim Sou Yong, finishing sixth on -2.