23 June 2019: It takes poise and belief to drink from the glass of victory. Jazz Janewattananond showed that he has the head on his young shoulders to survive the edgy business of Sunday golf by clinching his second victory this season and the fourth title of a blossoming career on the Asian Tour. The fact that he secured victory despite a triple bogey at the 11th and a bogey at the 14th as he made nervous progress through an intense final round at the Woo Jeong Hills Country Club.
In the end he did just enough to secure a one-stroke victory over Innchoon Hwang, who made a 70 as he battled to the very end. Jazz had the worst round of his week, a one-over 71, but he came home on four straight pars when he needed to steady his boat in stormy waters. Hwang secured a spot at The 148th Open by finishing second in Korea.
— Asian Tour (@asiantourgolf) June 23, 2019
Chan Kim and Minjun Kim shot similar scores of 68 to finish third and T4 respectively. Dongkyu Jang tied in fourth with his compatriot to take the second spot available this week for anyone finishing inside the top eight, who hadn’t already qualified to play The Open.
Kevin Na shot a second straight score of 71 to finish at two-under in sixth place. Songgyu Yoo dropped into seventh place after enduring a four-over 75 in the final round.
“I’m really honoured to win the National Open of Korea. This is a really tough course. I got away with most of it but still struggled towards the ends. I got off to a good start today and I was like flying until that triple-bogey,” recounted Jazz.
“It has happened to me earlier at the PGA Championship. I was playing well on the front nine as well. The exact same thing happened. I made the same easy mistake to make a big number and couldn’t recover. I thought I learned well from my experience at the PGA Championship.
“I told myself not to think about it and just keep moving forward. Made another bogey on 14 unfortunately but I told myself to just grind it out and try not to make anymore big numbers. The course is really hard. I got away at the end of the day but not unscathed,” he added.
“There aren’t many scoreboards out there but I knew I had a one-shot lead heading into the last because someone shouted. I knew I just need to make a par there but then I was thinking he might make birdie so I hit my driver down anyway.”
Henson and Kyongjun Moon made 74 each to finish in a tie for eighth. The two men were even for the week at 284. Only nine golfers managed to stay par or better this week in the Korea Open.
There were four men in tenth – Scott Vincent, Richard T Lee, Prom Meesawat and Soomin Lee, all of them at one-over with scores of 68, 73, 75 and 75 respectively.
Victory enabled Jazz to displace Scott Hend at the top of the Habitat for Humanity standings. The Thai star won $266,797 this week to bring his earnings to $783,093, with Hend second at $527,530.
Asian Tour Notes
- Jazz Janewattananond is the first foreigner to break the Korean dominance to win the Kolon Korea Open since American Rickie Fowler in 2011.
- He is also the second Thai player, following Thongchai Jaidee in 2000, to triumph in the National Open of Korea, which is celebrating its 62nd edition this week.
- Jazz claimed his fourth Asian Tour victory and a second one this season at the Kolon Korea Open. He won his third title at the season-opener in Singapore earlier in January.
- At the age of 23 years 6 months and 27 days, Jazz becomes the youngest ever player to achieve four wins on Tour. India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar held the record previously after he won his fourth title in 2012 at the age of 24.
- In his four victories on Tour, three were secured in National Opens – Bangladesh (2017), Singapore (2019) and Korea (2019).
- Jazz had won his last three events using three different putting styles – claw, armlock and broomstick.
- With this win, Jazz is expected to claim another career-high position on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). Currently ranked 62nd, Jazz could reach as high as 52nd place in the world when the new standings are released on Monday.
- This victory also helped Jazz regain his lead on the Asian Tour Order of Merit as he takes home a winner’s prize purse of KRW 300,000,000 (approx. US$266,800). He had held the Merit lead after winning the Singapore Open in January but slipped to second after he was overtaken by Scott Hend when the Australian won in Malaysia in March. Hend did not make the halfway cut in Korea.
- Jazz is using a long putter which he borrowed from good friend Scott Vincent in Japan two weeks ago. He used it in the tournament that week and enjoyed a tied-third place finish.
- According to Jazz, the switch to a long putter was inspired largely by Justin Harding of South Africa, a two-time winner on the Asian Tour in 2018.
- Jazz has been enjoying a great run of form since winning in Singapore. Apart from notching four other top-10s to sit in a current second place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, Jazz also enjoyed a tied-14th place finish at the PGA Championship last month. It was the best-ever result achieved by a Thai player at the PGA Championship.
- Enjoyed back-to-back top-5 finishes on the Japan Golf Tour in the last three weeks to move to 61st place on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) on June 10 but unfortunately failed to qualify for the U.S. Open after missing the cut-off mark by one rung.
- By virtue of his victory in Singapore, Jazz has qualified for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush, where he will make his second straight appearance next month.
- A boost in his world ranking, thanks to his success in Korea, will also put him closer to breaking top-50 on the OWGR and qualify for the World Golf Championships – FedEx St. Jude Invitational next month. Jazz needs to be inside the top-50 on the OWGR on either July 15th or July 22nd for an invitation to the TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee.
- It will also increase his chances of making Captain Ernie Els’ International Team at the President’s Cup in Melbourne this December.
- Innchoon Hwang is a one-time winner on the Asian Tour. He won on home soil in 2008.
- He will make his Major debut at The Open at Royal Portrush next month, thanks to his runner-up finish.
- Hwang has also won five times on the Korean Tour and the most recent win came at the K.J. Choi Invitational in 2017.
- His previous best finish at the Kolon Korea Open is tied-12th in 2016 and 2018.
- Hwang turned professional in 2002 at the age of 27.
- Chan Kim, 29, is a former member of the Asian Tour. He topped the Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2013.
- He’s playing on a sponsor’s invitation this week. Did not play last year because he was injured.
- Came in runner-up at the Gateway to The Open Mizuno Open on the Japan Golf Tour at the beginning of the month. Earned his spot at The Open next month.
- He was crowned the Order of Merit champion on the Japan Golf Tour in 2017, thanks to three wins.
- Scott Vincent of Zimbabwe secured his third top-10 finish of the season after closing with a 68 to grab a share of 10th place on 285.
- He has not missed a single cut in seven starts on the Asian Tour so far this season.
- Vincent claimed his first international victory on the Japan Challenge Tour last week.