Sadom Kaewkanjan and Veer Ahlawat. Pic: Paul Lakatos/ Asian Tour
Sentosa, Singapore, January 23: Veer Ahlawat ended the SMBC Singapore Open with a career-best finish at Tied-fifth, but left with a bitter-taste after dropping three shots on the last two holes in the final round. It dropped him from a tie for second to Tied-fifth and also robbed him of a chance to grab one of the four spots for the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews.
India had another Top-10 finisher in Shiv Kapur (69) at 5-under, while the other Indians were way down. Viraj Madappa (73) was T-48, Rashid Khan (73) was T-53rd and S Chikkarangappa (76) was T-65.
Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana kept his nerve on the back nine after starting the day at 11-under. He parred the first seven and then birdied the eighth and ninth and then parred all the way back on back nine.
Overnight co-leader Sihwan Kim dropped three bogeys in a row on back nine. Sadom won at 13-under, while Japan’s Yuto Katsuragawa (68) and last week’s winner, Joohyung Kim (69) were tied for third. The consolation for Sihwan (73) was that he ended sole fourth and took the last Open berth.
Ahlawat, American Jarin Todd (66) and Korean Doyeob Kim (66) tied for fifth.
Sadom picked up a cheque for US$225,000 and finished the year in second place on the Merit list, with US$378,972. Kim Joohyung, who finished Tied-2nd, however, won the Asian Tour of Merit. After earning US$108,125 at Sentosa Golf Club Kim topped the list with earnings of US$507,553 having played in all eight events on the schedule.
Ahlawat began his final round in a whirlwind manner with an incredible streak of four birdies in the first four holes followed by a fifth on the sixth in the SMBC Singapore Open. The 25-year-old Indian, whose sole professional win came on his domestic Tour in India, raised visions of ending India’s title drought on the Asian Tour since 2018. Starting at 5-under he rose to 10-under, but then the birdies dried up.
Not only did the birdies dry up, but worse he double bogeyed the Par-3 17th and bogeyed the 18th. The only consolation was that it bettered his previous best on Asian Tour, which was T-8 at Panasonic Open 2019 and Blue Canyon Phuket Championship in December 2021.
Last year in 2021, when Ahlawat began to show his potential he twice runner-up in successive weeks in Panchkula and Jammu & Kashmir on Indian Tour, where he was also third in Tata Steel Indian Tour Championships.
Veer Ahlawat is Tied-10th at Singapore Open; Kapur 18th; Sadom, Kim lead
Veer Ahlawat rises to Tied-fifth in Singapore as Kapur, Madappa are T-16
Kapur, Madappa best Indians after rain-hit first day in Singapore Open; Korea’s Ok leads