Matt Kuchar – Asian Tour
It was perhaps no surprise that the two highest ranked players at this week’s SMBC Singapore Open have dominated the final day’s play and the final leaderboard with American Matt Kuchar winning by three shots over England’s Justin Rose.
For Kuchar it was a great bounce-back following a missed cut at last week’s Sony Open in Hawaii when defending his title and today he provided another bounce-back when overcoming an early triple bogey to win comfortably in the end.
After his round Kuchar explained what had happened.
“I felt like I was cruising along and had a four shot lead that point and it was awfully comfortable. I played a tee-shot that I thought was a conservative shot, just a little up the left side, and it ended up finding its way between a few roots.
“I swung and missed as the ball was wedged among the roots, then had to step up and actually try to swing and hit that ball on the next shot. I got it out. Next one hits the cart path and goes into the leaves and I have to take a penalty drop.
“Finally put it on the green and lining up an 80-footer up to 10 feet for a triple knowing that Jazz is about to make birdie, and if he makes birdie I need to make triple just to tie with him. So, I think that 10-footer was a big, big putt to make.”
Clearly winning internationally is important to Kuchar who has often show a desire to take his game around the world.
“This is fantastic to travel around the world and come to a great city like Singapore, and to play a great golf course that you have here, to play against a great field and test my game against some great, great players that we don’t often see in the United States, said the champion.
“There are certainly a lot of great players here on this Tour, so it feels fantastic to come out on top. I’m awfully proud of being able to bounce back from adversity and being able to not let hard things get the best of me.”
For Rose he was delighted with his week given this is his first event of the year.
“For me, it is a good first week of the year,” said the Englishman. “Four rounds in the 60s, consistent golf, got into contention, felt some of those nerves, which is great. A lot to take from the week.
“This is a nice start and I feel I can build some momentum from it. Some second places hurt, some second places you feel good and this is more of a feeling good second place finish.”
Defending champion Janewattananond finished third, one shot behind Rose while, amongst the Australians, Travis Smyth had yet another good week when he tied for 10th, earning US$16,000 in the process.
Matthew Griffin and Andrew Dodt tied for 41st as the next best of the Australians.
The event also uncovered four more recipients of a start at the Open Championship in July, the leading four players finishing inside the top 12 this week and not otherwise exempt for Royal St Georges, earning the right to play there.
Those places went to brilliant Korean teenager, Joohyung Kim, American, Richard T. Lee, Thailand’s Poom Saksansin and Japan’s Ryosuke Kinoshita.
The next event on the Asian Tour will be the New Zealand Open in Queenstown beginning on February 27th.
The Open Qualifiers from the Singapore Open – L-R Kim, Richard T. Lee, Saksansin and Kinoshita.