Dodt wins S’wak title

KUCHING:Australian Andrew Dodt won an exciting play-off on the 18th hole by beating Canadian Richard Lee at the Damai Golf and Country Club (DGCC) on the final day of the US$300,000 Asian Tour Sarawak Championship late this afternoon

Dodt, who was three flights in front of Lee’s group, finished with a four-day total of 24-under and thought he had the top prize wrapped up, only to see Lee equal the four-day score with a brilliant eagle on the last hole.

It was a match which could have gone any way because at one stage Lee had the upper hand. During the play-off, Lee was at least 120 yards ahead of Dodt on the apron of the par-five 18th but could not take advantage of his big second shot which bounced off 50 feet from the pin.

Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Abdul Aziz Husain (left) presents the prize to the Sarawak Golf Championship champion Andrew Dodt of Australia yesterday. Photo: Ramidi Subari

On the other hand, Dobt, 33, who was recovering from a strain back after pulling a muscle while warming up for the Morocco Golf Championship in April hit an incredible third shot three feet from the flag.

Lee chipped in short and despite being eight feet from the pin, lipped the cup and had to be satisfied with a par. The cool Dodt then took his time and stroked in for a birdie with this famous win.

It was a hard-earned win for Dodt who had to fight all the way from the beginning against the leaders of third round — Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert, Taiwan’s Hung Chien-yao and Lee who had scored a three-day total of 198.

Just a stroke behind the trio was Asia’s top pro Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand.

An early morning thunder storm which dissipated into a drizzle for a late tee-off at 9am favoured the blonde Gold Coast golfer because after three days of scorching sun, the rain was a blessing.

Dobt said: “It rained cats and dogs early today and we thought the fourth day would be cancelled. But I told my golfing friends at the hotel I was ready to have a go at the top prize.”

Dobt’s wish came through because by 9.30am the 75 two day qualifiers were able to continue.

A jubilant Dodt added: “I like Sarawak. I will be back next year to defend my trophy.”

Richard Lee, 28, is a two-time Asian Tour champion — having won his maiden title at the Solaire Open in 2014 and the Shinhan Donghae Open in 2017 although he could only rue the putt which he missed by a whisker.

Placed in 41st place on the Order of Merit with a current haul of US$39,005, Lee will be playing in the Asian Tour Indonesia in two weeks’ time.

Lee who was a runner-up at the US Junior Amateur Championship when he was 15 qualified for the 2007 US Open when he became the second youngest golfer in the 107-year history of the tournament.

Despite trying his best Asian Tour order of Merit leader Jazz Janewattananond from Thailand, could not find the form he was hoping for.

Meanwhile, two of Malaysia’s five professionals who made the cut — Sabah’s Ben Leong and Selangor’s Kamarol Baharin — had credible performances but finished 10 stroke and 12 strokes, respectively, behind Dobt.

The Asian Tour is the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia.

It is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia as well as the official world golf rankings.

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The Tour is an affiliate of The R&A.