International Series Singapore: Nitithorn clinches inaugural title by single stroke

·2 min read
Thailand golfer Nitihorn Thippong wins the inaugural International Series Singapore tournament at Tanah Merah Country Club. (PHOTO: Paul Lakatos/Asian Tour)
Thailand golfer Nitihorn Thippong wins the inaugural International Series Singapore tournament at Tanah Merah Country Club. (PHOTO: Paul Lakatos/Asian Tour)

SINGAPORE — Thai golfer Nitithorn Thippong clinched the inaugural International Series Singapore by a single stroke at the Tanah Merah Country Club on Sunday (14 August).

The 25-year-old holed a pressure-packed par-saving putt on the final hole to take the clubhouse lead at 16-under-par 272, but had to wait for the final group to complete their round to see if anyone could catch up with him.

The wait was longer than expected due to a 40-minute delay due to lightning, but when play resumed, Malaysia's Gavin Green narrowly missed a 15-foot birdie putt that would have drawn him level with Nitithorn.

Malaysia golfer Gavin Green sinks to the ground after missing a birdie putt in the final hole that would have drawn him level at the top of the International Series Singapore at Tanah Merah Country Club. (PHOTO: Tharm Sook Wai/Asian Tour)
Malaysia golfer Gavin Green sinks to the ground after missing a birdie putt in the final hole that would have drawn him level at the top of the International Series Singapore at Tanah Merah Country Club. (PHOTO: Tharm Sook Wai/Asian Tour)

Meanwhile, Taiwan's Chan Shih-chang - who was level with the Thai at 16-under heading into the par-five 18th - found water with his tee shot and made a double bogey, allowing Nitithorn to seal the victory.

“This is fantastic, just fantastic,” said the Thai after winning for the second time on the Asian Tour this season, following his win at the DGC Open in March.

“I have practised so hard for this. I hit a lot of greens this week and had a lot of birdie putts. I think my mentality was great. I did not think about the score, just the process.”

Starting the round a shot behind Green, Nitithorn was steady in his final round, closing with a bogey-free three-under-par 69 to edge out Green, compatriot Phachara Khongwatmai and Canada's Richard Lee. Green and Phachara both fired 71s, while Lee returned a 67.

Green struggled from the onset, going four-over after four holes. “I got off to a horrendous start, and kind of just clicked the reset button and just kept going,” he said.

“With this course, a lot of things can happen. And especially on the last hole, there was so much drama down the last, it was anybody's game. I tried very, very hard just to keep moving along and stay as patient as possible.”

Former US Masters champion Patrick Reed closed with his best round of the week, a 67, which was helped by a hole-in-one on the par-three 14th. He finished on eight-under 280 in a tie for 31st.

Singapore's rising young star James Leow fired a 68 to also finish on eight under, ending as the leading local golfer.

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