Lee Beats Barr for Thailand Open Title


PHUKET, Thailand -- New Zealand's Richard Lee dashed Scott Barr's dream of winning his first Asian Tour event on Sunday, beating the Singapore-based Australian in a thrilling sudden-death playoff to capture the Thailand Open.
Barr's form failed to live up to his expectations due to strong winds at the Blue Canyon Country Club, where he posted only two birdies on Nos. 3 and 13 against two bogeys on Nos. 2 and 17 for a final 9-under-par 279, the four-round aggregate scored by Lee.
The playoff on 18 decided the eventual winner, and Lee did not let his supporters down.
'This game is about one thing. It's a shame to come up short. I played solid all week and will have to come back next time. I held it together pretty well, but I didn't play down the stretch. I had to really work for my pars and all credit to Richard who obviously played very well,' Barr said.
It was a hard-fought battle on the final day of the Asian Tour event as Indian Harmeet Kahlon and was locked in a tight contest with Barr and fellow Australian Scott Strange.
Strange seized the lead after shooting the first 11 holes with a combined 10-under par, while Kahlon and Barr had the similar 10 under after 10 holes. But he was dropped by one point when his golf ball shifted while he started to putt, spoiling Strange's chances.
But it was Lee who continued his scintillating run in the final round. After matching Barr's four-round 279 aggregate, he capped an exceptional performance, beating Barr in just one hole on 18.
Strange and American Bryan Saltus were joint third place with an 8-under-par 280. Kahlon finished fifth with a 281. In joint sixth with four shots back were Ross Bain of Scotland, Australian Larry Austin, England's Chris Rodgers and Prayad Marksaeng, the top Thai who finished second last year and 19th at the Asian Tour Order of Merit after the Myanmar Open.
The best amateur award went to Chinarat Phadungsil, who scored a 75 for a total score of 290 to finish a joint 25th in his second Thailand Open. Last year, the 16-year-old Thai missed the cut.
The Asian Tour moves on to the Qatar Masters, which is joint-sanctioned with European Tour and due to take place at the Doha Golf Club between March 10 and 13. Swedish Joakim Haeggman is expected to defend his crown.
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