Jaidee Jars Malaysian Open

By Sports NetworkFebruary 22, 2004, 5:00 pm
European TourKUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand posted a 4-under 68 on Sunday that featured a hole-in-one at the par-3 16th to win the Carlsberg Malaysian Open. Jaidee finished at 14-under-par 274 for his first career victory on the European Tour.
'It's been my dream to play on the European Tour and now I will have to get used to life in Europe,' said Jaidee. 'I'm looking forward to taking the opportunity to play alongside some of the best players in the world.'
Australia's Brad Kennedy finished alone in second place at 12-under-par 276. Thomas Levet, Prayad Marksaeng and Chawalit Plaphol were two shots further back at 10-under-par 278.
Jaidee began the final round two shots off the lead on the Palm Course at Saujana Golf & Country Club and he found trouble early on. Jaidee dropped a shot at the par-3 fifth and stumbled again with a bogey at the par-4 ninth to make the turn at 8 under.
When all looked lost for Jaidee, the former paratrooper began his comeback with a birdie at the par-4 10th.
Jaidee missed the green at the par-5 13th but chipped in for another birdie to move to minus-10.
At the par-4 15th, Jaidee knocked his approach inside five feet and drained the putt to take the outright lead before hitting the shot of the tournament at the very next hole.
Jaidee hit a perfect tee shot to the elevated green at the par-3 16th and the gallery let him know that his ball had found the bottom of the cup for an ace.
The 34-year-old then played a remarkable third shot to four feet for a birdie at the par-5 18th to enter the clubhouse with a solid advantage.
Because the players stayed in the same groups as the previous day after the third round was completed in the morning, Jaidee had plenty of time to wait for his victory to become a guarantee.
Kennedy had the best chance of matching Jaidee after collecting three birdies over his first nine holes.
'I knew I was a few behind going into the last round and knew I had to do something pretty special,' said Kennedy, who posted a final-round 67.
He landed his approach within four feet for a birdie at the 11th and added back-to-back birdies from the 13th to pull within one of the lead at 13 under.
Kennedy hit an awkward second shot at the last that missed the fairway to the right. The 29-year-old reached the green with his third shot but ended up three-putting for a closing bogey, thus securing the title for Jaidee.
Miguel Angel Jimenez and Andrew Marshall tied for sixth place at 8-under-par 280.
Sung-Man Lee, who carried the lead into the final round, struggled to a 77 in the afternoon. The Korean, who was born deaf, joined Klas Eriksson and Thaworn Wiratchant at 7-under-par 281.
Paul McGinley, Mikko Ilonen, Wen-Tang Lin and Jason Knutzon came in at 6- under-par 282.
Colin Montgomerie was one shot further back in a group at 5-under-par 283.
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