Sandhu falters on final day, finishes 18th at Cambodian Open

Siem Reap (Cambodia): Indian golfer Ajeetesh Sandhu faltered at the final hurdle when he threw away a great start to finish with a round of 74 at tied 18th in the inaugural Handa Faldo Cambodian Classic here on Saturday.

Sandhu, the lone Indian to make the cut at the USD 300,000 Asian Tour event, had a birdie-birdie start as he looked set to challenge the leaders. But then a double bogey on par-5 third hole spoiled his momentum.

The Indian who had played bogeyfree on second and third days, had just one more birdie, but three more bogeys and he and dropped from overnight fifth down the leaderboard.

American rookie David Lipsky produced a superb chip-in birdie to defeat a luckless Elmer Salvador of the Philippines in the first play-off hole and win the title.

The 23-year-old, who won the Asian Tour`s Qualifying School in January, enjoyed his maiden professional victory in front of six-time Major champion Nick Faldo, who watched the shootout at the impressive Angkor Golf Resort, a course he designed.

Starting the day seven shots off the lead, Lipsky closed with a stunning seven-under 65 for a 15-under 273 total. A gritty Salvador had a 10-foot birdie putt at the last hole in regulation play for the outright win but he missed for a 68.

It was a frenetic final day as there were six players tied for the lead at one stage before Lipsky and Salvador, who also lost in a play-off at last year`s ISPS Handa Singapore Classic, edged ahead of the pack.

Lipsky earned USD 47,550 and a priceless winner`s exemption on the Asian Tour till the end of 2014. The 42-year-old Salvador had a good look for an outright win but misjudged his putt at the 72nd hole.

Niall Turner (72) was disappointed as he finished third, one shot shy of the play-off after an even par 72. But he did earn a spot into the next Asian Tour stop at the Panasonic Open India in two weeks` time.

Finland`s Kalle Samooja enjoyed his best finish on Tour with a tied fourth placing with Thailand`s Chinnarat Phadungsil and Korea`s Baek Seuk-hyun on 275. He closed with a 65.

Overnight leader Kim Hyung-sung settled for joint seventh position after signing off with a disappointing 75.


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