In the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open, Australia’s Marcus Both completed a one-shot victory Sunday with a storming final round of five-under-par 67
AUSTRALIA’S Marcus Both ended a frustrating six-year title drought on the Asian Tour after securing a nail-biting one-stroke victory over Malaysia’s Shaaban Hussin at the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open on Sunday.
The Australian was six off the pace going into the final round but fired a closing five-under-par 67 to secure a winning total of nine-under-par 279 at the US$300,000 Asian Tour tournament.
Shaaban needed a birdie on the 18th hole to force a play-off but could only make par as he signed for a 70 to finish a career-high second at the Phokeethra Country Club. Singapore’s Mardan Mamat (67), Shiv Kapur of India (70) and Thailand’s rising star Annop Tangkamolprasert (74) finished a further shot behind on 281.
Overnight leader Craig Smith of Wales failed to maintain his title charge and closed with a disappointing 76 for tied sixth place alongside Will Yanagisawa of the United States and Thailand’s Pariya Junhasavasdikul on 282.
Both was delighted to return to the winner’s rostrum. “I was not thinking about winning and the only time I looked at the leaderboard was when I was walking up on the 16th hole. I thought I needed to shoot six-under to get close but I guess I’m just fortunate that everything fell my way,” said Both, who took home a cheque of US$47,550.
The lanky Australian started his charge with birdies on the second, sixth and eight holes to make the turn in 33 and continued his hot streak with three consecutive birdies from the 11th hole. A dropped shot on the 14th hole ensured a nervous wait in the clubhouse for Both.
He also dedicated his Cambodian Open victory to his mother, who celebrates her birthday today. “I was talking to my mother yesterday and she told me that a top-10 would be a good present so I guess this win is the icing on the cake,” said Both.
Vanseiha looks to improve
17-year-old Cambodian amateur Seng Vanseiha failed to make the two-over-par cut after the second day by seven strokes, ending his tournament in 105th place out of 124 amateurs and professionals. However, the youngster was encouraged by his performance alongside an experienced international field.
“I see a lot of improvement for me this time,” he said. “I will strive to play better next year in order to be able to play in the third and fourth days.”
Seng Vanseiha noted the difficulty in producing golfing talent in the Kingdom, especially in regards to the high costs of playing the sport.
“[It is] difficult to develop professionals [in Cambodia] without outside support,” he noted, adding that when he went to play abroad, he was concerned about the financial impact on his family, which distracted him at times. “This is sport for rich people, and I am only able to use not-so-expensive equipment.”
Ly Hong, the only other Cambodian to play in the Open, was also eliminated after the second day in 116th place on 18-over-par.