Yeoju (Korea): Jyoti Randhawa, who took time off to work on his game, showed that he made a wise decision as he registered his first top-10 finish in more than two years in the CJ Invitational hosted by KJ Choi here on Sunday.
Randhawa closed the USD 750,000 tournament with a fine 67 to tie for second. His 67 was similar to his first round score, which was flawless, but today, he dropped one shot against six birdies.
He finished at seven-under 281 and was a distant second tied with Kim Tae-Hoon, as another Kang Sung-Hoon, who had a stranglehold on the event finished as winner by five shots. Kang, who had four birdies in a row from third to sixth, could afford two bogeys on eighth and 16th as he carded 70 and totaled 12-under 276.
Anirban Lahiri (73) was tied 17th at one-under 287, while Rahil Gangjee (71) was tied 29th at two-over 290. Digvijay Singh faltered on the final day as he shot 79 and ended at 11-over 299.
Randhawa was pleased with his performance and said, "I started with a bang and ended with a bang but I have no idea what happened in between! I had a good ball striking day. I also made a few good putts."
"I felt the best out there today and I`m happy with the way I was swinging. I`ll take the positive out of this round and I`ll take it with me until the end of the year," he added.
On his round in general, Randhawa said, "The 16th was the best birdie. I had a 25-footer and it was up and down of the hill and I made that putt. That really got my juices going. That got me to five-under and it was a comfortable position for me to be in.
"I`ve been taking it easy for the last two or three months. For me to come back and finish in the top-five is really good for my confidence. There are a couple of things that`s been holding me back from getting another win. I made a few swing changes and I wasn`t feeling confident under pressure. Today I did that and it felt good."
Jason Knutzon (69) was tied fourth alongside Baek Seuk-hyun (69) and Kiradech Aphinbarnrat (73) at six-under 282.
"It feels like I`m dreaming. I can`t believe that I won. Maybe, I`ll wake up tomorrow and the winning feeling will sink in," smiled the 26-year-old Kang.
"It has been quite a while since I last won so this is a great feeling," he added.
The slightly built Korean has been playing in the United States in the last three years, including a year on the PGA Tour in 2011 where he forged a friendship with his childhood hero Choi.
"When I played on the PGA Tour, I lived very near to K.J. We had dinners together and he would give me a lot of advice. That`s why it means a lot to me that I have won this event which he is hosting," Kang explained after the win at the Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club on the outskirts of Seoul.
Current Asian Tour number one Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, who was three shots off the lead at the start of the final round, carded a 73 to settle tie share fourth place with Jason Knutzon (69) of the United States and Baek Seuk-hyun (69) of Korea.
Kang`s lead never looked threatened after he shot four straight birdies starting from the third hole. He bogeyed holes eight and 16 but was still comfortably in charge.
Kiradech said, "I got off to a good start but I felt pain in my left knee during the closing stages. I couldn`t squat to read the line. That`s why I struggled. I`m going to go home and rest for a week and prepare for the CIMB Classic."