March 30: Asian Tour members enjoyed strong outings around the world at the weekend with Australian Brad Kennedy and Korea’s Charlie Wi finishing runner-up on the European Tour and Japan Golf Tour respectively.
Kennedy finished tied second in the Madeira Island Open, one back of winner Chris Hannell of Sweden. It was the second time this season that the Australian has finished second on the European Tour, having also come close in the Carlsberg Malaysian Open when he came in behind winner Thongchai Jaidee.
He shot rounds of 62, 72, 80 and 71 and could have forced a play-off if not for a mistake in his scorecard. Kennedy had to return to the course on Sunday to finish his third round and mistakenly signed for an eight at the last hole when in fact he had taken a seven.
The problem arose when his ball landed on a cart path and he thought he needed to take a penalty drop rather than a free drop. That miscue ultimately proved costly but Kennedy put up a brave front.
“I don’t want to bottle that 18th hole up and take it away from me that’s for sure,” he said. “But I have to try and learn from this and keep knocking on the door. That’s two seconds in a month. I really knuckled down. I knew I let myself down out there and wanted to dig down as deep as I could.”
Wi also came agonisingly close in the season-opening event, the Token Homemate Cup, in Japan where he finished two shots behind winner Hiroyuki Fujita. Needing to par the final hole to force extra time, the American-based Korean double bogeyed. He shot rounds of 69, 72, 70 and 72.
Compatriot Kim Jong-duk enjoyed a tied ninth finish after rounds of 72, 73, 75 and 67 while 2000 Asian qualifying school winner Soushi Tajima came in equal ninth as well.
In the Players Championship in Florida, Korean star Choi Kyung-ju settled for joint 42nd position following rounds of 67, 79, 69 and 74. Australian Adam Scott won the title with his 276 total.