Hometown favourite Ly Hong won the Angkor Amateur Open Golf Championship for the second time in its seven-year run after producing two identical rounds of one under par 71 to gross 142 at the Sir Nick Faldo-designed Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap yesterday.
The Cambodian left-hander who is best remembered for a stellar second round performance in the Asian Tour Honda-Faldo Classic of 2012, the year he first won the Amateur Open by eight strokes, thwarted Amish Jaitha’s bid for an unprecedented back-to-back triumph.
Ly Hong (pictured, right), who represented Cambodia in the Indonesian edition of the SEA Games in 2011, is the first player to win the country’s flagship golf event more than once.
After a consistently good first round of 70, India’s Amish Jaitha sharing the same cart as Ly Hong on the second round circuit, carded four bogeys in the back nine.
Though he recovered with three birdies, one monster 20-metre putt in the 16th by Ly Hong turned out to be the crucial game changer. Ly Hong’s sound short game and putting stood by him all through the event. “I am very happy that I could maintain my consistency in both the rounds” Ly Hong, who won by four strokes ahead of Jaitha, told the Post.
“I had a steady first round, I played the first nine holes fairly well, but that indifferent back nine set me back a great deal, though I managed three birdies including the one in the final 18th” Jaitha said.
“It is a very well run event. I would like to comeback’’ said Jaitha, who went out with one handicap to Ly Hong’s four Arguably the best and most closely contested Open to date saw 120 local and international players battle it out over 36 holes for a wide range of prizesDivision one: the best net score was claimed by Phnom Penh golfer Pichmeta Peou with a two round total of 72 Stableford points.
In second place narrowly missing out on count-back also with 72 points was Calle Lund (Sweden) followed in third place by Siem Reap golfer Im Rahul with 71 points.
Lee Chew Fu (Malaysia) with a fantastic two round score of 83 Stableford points, the highest tally over all net divisions, topped the category ahead of Mohamad Hanafi (Singapore) with 79 Stableford points followed in third place by South Korea’s Dae Hun Han with 76 points.
This year saw the introduction of a seniors division with a best gross and three net prizes on offer.
The best gross was won by Australia’s Geoff Mclaws with strong rounds of 75 and 78 for a total of 153 (+9) The first net prize went to Steven Law Jin Seng (Malaysia) with 79 Stableford points.
In second place with 77 points was Tan Keng Wan (Singapore) pushing Jimmy Kong Tack Seng (Malaysia) into third.
In the ladies division, players were competing for a best gross prize and two net prizes.
Tevy Sareoun, Cambodia’s brightest young golf prospect claimed the gross prize with rounds of 91 and 86 for a two ound aggregate score of 177. First net was taken by Violy Pegels (Philippines) with 73 Stableford points. With 64 Stableford points Jimin Kim (South Korea) was runner up.
As much as $1,000 dollars was raised during the ‘SMART Challenge for Education’ with all winners going into a lucky draw for an iPhone 6 donated by SMART.
Proceeds will go to Family Care Cambodia.
“It’s been a fantastic three days had by all and we’re delighted with the response and feedback from all of the players.
The event has gone from strength to strength and although the prizes are fiercely contested the camaraderie and friendship shown among the competitors is what makes the event so special’’ said David Baron, AGR director of golf in a chat with the Post.
“Ly Hongs’s a worthy champion showing remarkable skill and consistency to post a total of 142.
The heavy overnight rain on Friday evening meant that the course was playing soft and very long.
Ly Hong has a short game that will rival many players in the paid ranks,” David Baron noted.
“In the three days preceding the event we had over 15cm of rainfall and a further 3cm on Saturday evening yet the course was presented in immaculate condition thanks to golf course superintendant Jim Gubricky and his team. The participation from local and international sponsors was very pleasing and I must pay a special thank you to lead sponsors Tiger Beer,” he said.