Sarawak Championship

KUCHING, Sarawak: Australian Andrew Dodt defeated Richard T. Lee of Canada on the first extra hole after sinking a two-foot birdie putt to win his third Asian Tour title and first in four years at the US$300,000 Sarawak Championship on Sunday.

The 33-year-old Dodt, who is playing in his first event since suffering a two-month injury layoff in April, was left to endure an agonizing wait in the clubhouse after closing with a flawless eight-under-par 64 at the Damai Golf and Country Club.

Knowing that he needed an eagle on the last to force extra time with Dodt, Lee opted for an aggressive style of play as he hit a three-wood off the deck from about 275 yards to eight-feet and made the eagle putt to sign for a closing 66. It was a sensational finish for Lee as he had to hit a big draw around the trees to get to the green on 18.

The duo, who were tied on 24-under-par 264 in regulation play, returned to the 517-yard par-five 18th for the sudden-death playoff where both found the middle of the fairway with their tee shots. Dodt laid up to about 75 yards from the pin while Lee decided to go for the green.

The 28-year-old Lee got lucky as his ball hit the cart path and bounced back to about 25 yards right of the green in the rough. He then chipped to 12 feet but his birdie putt would eventually lipped out and it was Dodt who sealed the deal after sticking his approach to two-feet.

American Micah Lauren Shin missed a 20-feet birdie putt on the last to force his way into the play-off as he signed for a 65 to finish in third place on 265 in the full-field event, which celebrated its second straight edition on the Asian Tour this week.

Overnight co-leader Hung Chien-yao of Chinese Taipei returned with a second straight 68 to take fourth place on 266 while Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines settled a further shot back in fifth following a 66 at the Arnold Palmer-designed course.

Order of Merit leader Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand battled to a 69 to finish in a share of sixth place on 268 alongside a host of players, including Zimbabwean Scott Vincent, whose closing 62 would have match the course record if not for the preferred lies ruling in play.

The final round of the Sarawak Championship was delayed by a 3 hours 5 minutes weather suspension in the morning. Play was suspended at 7.25am local time before resuming at 10.30am.

The Sarawak Championship is supported by the Sarawak State government. It is also the Tour’s second stop in Malaysia this season.

Did you know?

– Andrew Dodt missed only one green and three fairways en route to his closing 64. With an average of 1.58 putts per Greens in regulation, Dodt is ranked second in the field in the category this week.

– Prior to his victory at the Sarawak Championship, Dodt won the 2010 Avantha Masters and the True Thailand Classic in 2015.

– He had endured a two-month injury layoff starting from April due to a bulging disc in his back which was stemmed from his gym session in Morocco after a long-haul flight from Sydney. He spent the last two months practicing before returning to competitive golf att the Sarawak Championship this week.

– The 2019 Sarawak Championship is his fourth start on Tour this season. He moved from 59th place to 19th place on Order of Merit following his victory, which earned him a winner’s prize purse of US$54,000.

– Richard T. Lee enjoyed a tied-10th place finish at the Kolon Korea Open in June.

– The 28-year-old Lee is a two-time Asian Tour winner. He won his maiden title at the Solaire Open in 2014 and claimed his second victory at the Shinhan Donghae Open in 2017.

– Earlier in April, he won The 15th DB Insurance Promy Open on the Korean PGA Tour.

– Lee enjoyed his career-best finish on the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2015 where he finished in seventh place.

– Lee finished as runner-up at his qualifier to earn entry to the 2007 U.S. Open, becoming the second youngest golfer in the 107-year history of the tournament. However, he did not finish the tournament as he injured his wrist in the second round. He finished at +20 and turned professional at the conclusion of the tournament.

– Micah Lauren Shin has enjoyed a tied-second place finish at the Asia-Pacific Open Diamond Cup in May.

– He won his maiden Asian Tour title at the 2017 Resorts World Manila Masters, where he defeated Arnond Vongvanij of Thailand on the first play-off hole with a birdie against a par. The victory came after he called a ruling on himself and was penalised two strokes for having 15 clubs in the bag in the final round.

– He was named the rookie of the year that season after finishing 12th on the 2017 Order of Merit.

– Shin is Korean-American and is based in Davao. He turned professional in 2013.

– Shin secured his Asian Tour card for the first time after coming through his third attempt at the Qualifying School in 2017. He went on to cap his best season yet with a breakthrough win in the Philippines and a top-10 finish in Hong Kong.

– He enjoyed another top-10 finish in Hong Kong in 2018 and finished 45th on the Order of Merit to keep his Asian Tour card for 2019.