OWGR Week 06: Aphibarnrat moves to World No.37
February 12, 2018
PGA Tour of Australasia, Asian and European Tour - ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth
Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand beat James Nitties of Australia 2&1 to win the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth on Sunday moving to a career best of World No.37.
Aphibarnrat followed a similar path to his countryman Phachara Khongwatmai who qualified last in to the top-24 in 2017 and played his way to the final, only this time the honours lay with Thailand as he defeated New South Welshman James Nitties in the final.
It was a barnstorming finish from the crowd favourite who finished with an eagle and a birdie to claim his fourth European Tour title.
“It’s just been an awesome week. I don't know how to explain, but I'm so happy. I'm working so hard. The last few months I've been getting really close and finally I've done it,” said Aphibarnrat.
Arriving in Perth on Wednesday afternoon, Aphibarnrat got his first look at the course in round one of the tournament and immediately made an impression shooting 5-under 67, even par rounds on Friday and Saturday which meant he was part of the nine-man playoff to secure a spot in Sunday’s match play.
He said the lack of preparation may have been of benefit to him, playing some holes around the course without fear.
“First hole you just see clearly, second hole I hit driver, just 130 yards to the flag on the first round, and then I walked down the fairway and looked at my caddie saying, ‘did you just let me hit driver on this one?’ It's so narrow, I tell him I won't hit driver at all,” added Aphibarnrat.
“It was a little bit relaxing, go out there and when you get the decent start you lose the pressure a little bit and try to free your swing.”
He and Australian Anthony Quayle eventually played the 18th four times in round three before Aphibarnrat secured the final spot inside the top-24 for Sunday.
PGA Tour - AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Ted Potter Jr wins AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am moving from World No. 246 to World No.76.
Potter started the final round Sunday tied with Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world for the last year. Throughout the day, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day each made a run at the 34-year-old Floridian who had 46 missed cuts and only four top 10s in his previous 83 starts on the PGA TOUR.
"I'm so happy right now to get it done today, especially against the world No. 1, playing with him today," Potter said. "The win here at Pebble is just unbelievable."
Potter closed with a 3-under 69 and didn't drop a shot after a three-putt bogey on the opening hole. Making it tougher was playing in a threesome behind a foursome in the pro-am format, having too much time to think about the stage, the contenders and the opportunity.
The key moment came behind the green on the par-3 seventh, the most picturesque at Pebble Beach. He and Johnson were side-by-side in light rough to a firm green that ran away from them. Johnson chipped nicely to 4 feet. Potter put a little more loft on his shot and holed it for a birdie and a two-shot lead.
He wound up winning by three shots over Johnson (72), Mickelson (67), Day (70) and Chez Reavie (68).
Web.com Tour - Club Colombia Championship
Louisiana State University alum Ben Taylor is a first-time winner after carding a closing-round 3-under-par 68 at the Club Colombia Championship, good for a six-stroke victory – the largest in tournament history – over K.H. Lee, Erik Barnes, Jason Gore and fellow LSU Tiger Sam Burns.
“It’s still quite surreal,” Taylor said about the difference two months makes. “To know that I had to shoot 17-under in December to be here this week is certainly a good feeling now that I’ve become the champion. It just goes to show that the hard work does pay off. I’m certainly very thrilled to come out on top this week. It’s a surreal feeling and a dream come true.”
Taylor entered Sunday at Country Club de Bogota four strokes clear of the field, but a bogey on the opening hole ensured the 25-year-old would have to play aggressively to keep the lead as the leaderboard became more and more bunched behind him at 9-under par. Taylor went on par the next two holes before picking up his first birdie of the day on the par-4 fourth. He carded four more birdies on the round to move to 16-under before dropping a stroke on the par-3 15th.
As Taylor approached the fairway on No. 17, the London native and current Orlando, Florida, resident looked at the leaderboard for the first time, only to see he’d opened up a six-stroke lead on the rest of the field with two left to play.
“I made sure not to look at any leaderboards all day,” Taylor laughed, “But when I was coming down No. 17 and realized I was ahead by six, I realized it was pretty difficult to mess it up. That’s when I realized the job was done. It certainly made the three-shot par-5 finish a lot easier.”
Sunshine Tour – Eye of Africa PGA Championship
Chilean rising star, Matias Calderon sunk a 40-foot long putt for birdie in an unblemished seven-under-par 65 final round of the Eye of Africa PGA Championship to win his maiden Sunshine Tour title on Sunday.
“I had already made one long putt for par on number 13 or 14 if I’m not wrong,” said the young Chilean of his thoughts on that final hole. “And, for some reason when I looked at it, I was like ‘if I give this the proper pace, it’s going to go in’, so I just focused on pace and I don’t know, for some reason I thought it had a chance.”
Calderon went into the final round of this R1.5 million event trailing overnight leader, Combrinck Smit, by six shots at this Greg Norman-designed golf course and got right into it with an eagle on the par-five second hole.
“To be honest, when I started the round, I just tried to do my game and see what was going to happen without worrying about Combrinck,” he said about the huge gap between himself and Smit, “but, coming down the stretch it, obviously, starts getting into a bit of match-play. But, I just tried to do my game and luckily for me I played very well.”
He played well, indeed, because after that eagle on the second, he made two birdies to turn in 32. His back nine was just as solid because as Smit dropped shots on the 10th and 13th holes, Calderon holed three more birdies to get to 17-under, a shot clear of Smit.
Not only does he claim the glory which comes with winning this prestigious event, Calderon was also incentivised by way of a house stand at the Eye of Africa Signature Golf Estate.
“I am very happy today,” he said, “it’s been a great week, even with the delays. I just can’t be happier at this moment. It was an amazing round and thank God the putter was hot today. This is the biggest win I have had in my short career, so it means a lot to me.”
ProGolf Tour - Open Prestigia
Scotsman Liam Johnston secured the first tournament success of his professional career with an impressive series of birdies on the back nine of The Tony Jacklin course in Morocco’s Casablanca.
With 12 under par (71, 64, 68) after 54 holes at the Open Prestigia, the 25-year old from Dumfries was one stroke ahead of the Frenchman Antoine Schwartz and the German Jonas Kölbing, who shared second place with 11 under par. Johnston is also the new number 1 in the Order of Merit after three season tournaments and World No. 786.
ProGolf Tour - Open Casa Green Golf
Julien De Poyen is the winner of the Open Casa Green Golf 2018. With rounds of 66, 69 and 68 and a total 12 under par the 23 year old from Guadeloupe (France) finally was one shot ahead of Christopher Carstensen, the defending champion from Germany (70, 67, 67/-11).