One of Cambodia’s best known amateur golfers, Ly Hong overcame testing winds and a tough challenge from overnight leader Amish Jaitha to win the Angkor Amateur Open Golf Championship for a record fourth time at the Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap on Sunday.
The winner of the titles in 2012, 2015 and 2016, the 10th edition involving a strong field of 116 set up the perfect stage to seek the milestone of a fourth title for the left hander, who lives in temple town where he began as a novice two decades ago.
It was familiar Indian amateur, Jaitha, the brighter half of the four-ball pairing with his cousin Khusaal Thackersey, who opened up the event with an impressive 72 (level par), leading by four shots over Mal Coombs (an AGR regular) and a six shot lead from three others who scored 78 (+6), including National Team player Peou Pich Meta.
Hong was way off the pace eight shots behind but it hardly bothered him when he teed off the next day.
Conditions were not so friendly in the second round as strong winds blew across the Nick Faldo-designed course.
But Jaitha and Hong, who had diligently worked his way to catch up and pass the leader, made sure that the title would be decided in the final few holes.
Hong surged into a one shot lead with two holes to play. He then went on to birdie the final hole to score 69 (3 under par) posting a combined total of 149 (+5) and a two-shot victory over Jaitha.
“I was disappointed with my round one score and a little nervous about round two as I was 8 shots behind. I really enjoy this event and the golf course, as always, was in amazing condition, I was motivated to go play my best golf. I was so happy to score 69 in round two in a testing wind,’’ Hong told The Post after his victory.
AGR director of golf David Baron said at the awards ceremony: “We’re delighted with the response and feedback from all of the participants. Over the years the event has brought so many golfers together from around the world and it’s always nice to see these friendships strengthen each year through the platform of golf.’’