Digvijay finishes tied 10th on final day
Chiangmai: Digvijay Singh, who was in contention through the first half of the week, was unable to weather the amazing final round from Australia`s Scott Hend, as the Indian finished tied 10th at the inaugural Chiangmai Golf Classic.
Hend charged from six-shots back to win the title by three strokes. He shot a stunning eight-under-par 64 in the final round, just as newcomer Bryan Easton of South Africa (64) did, but Hend`s earlier good work in the week carried the day for him.
Digvijay (71) slipped to 10th after being in top-5 for the first three rounds. Digvijay totaled 13-under 275, while Gaganjeet Bhullar, who had a stunning 65 on third day just could not get going and faltered with a one-over 73 with two double bogeys to drop to tied 26th.
Shiv Kapur (70) stayed at his overnight tied 26th.
Anirban Lahiri (68) was the only Indian to move up from tied 26th to 14th at 12-under, while Himmat Rai (75) also slipped down to tied 45.
"I didn`t putt very well, missed a short one on eight and missed a par save on nine. [I] Missed a few short putts, didn’t feel good with the putting. My putting speed was out. My line reading was a bit out. Still, overall a good week. Quite happy with how I held myself on the course," Digvijay said.
Big-hitting Hend earned his third Asian Tour title in front of large crowds at the Alpine Golf Resort-Chiangmai, taking home the winner’s cheque of USD 135,000 with his four-day total of 20-under-par 268.
Easton, playing in his first Asian Tour event, also shot a 64 to take second place while a faltering Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand, who led by five overnight, settled for third on 272 after a day to forget when he soared to a 74 in the USD 750,000 full-field Asian Tour tournament.
China`s Hu Mu continued as he took fourth place following a 68 as he posted his first top-five finish on the region’s premier Tour which is celebrating its milestone 10th season in 2013.
Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, who needed a victory to have a chance of qualifying for the Masters Tournament in a fortnight, settled tied 10th position after a 72.
South Africa’s Ernie Els, using the belly putter after three days with the short stick, finished tied 14th in the Chiangmai Golf Classic, which was offering the highest world ranking points in Asia this week.
"To be honest, I didn`t think I had a chance to win," said the 40-year-old Hend. "I played with Prayad the first two rounds and he was hitting the ball great and putting great. And obviously, he played great yesterday again and I thought he would continue with the way he was playing."
Despite a bogey on three, Hend sparked his round at the next hole with a 30-foot eagle conversion, which led to four more birdies over his next five holes.
His two previous wins on the Asian Tour also were come-from-behind victories. He stormed from five back to win the 2008 Indonesian Presidents Invitational and was four behind when he won the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic last season.
The 25-year-old Easton, who missed his Asian Tour card by one shot at Qualifying School in January, was nine under for the round through 14 holes but double bogeyed the par three at the 15th when his tee shot found the lake.
He missed a birdie chance at the closing par five at the 18th and was eventually passed by a fast-charging Hend.