10 years of magic: 2004 Macau Open

Tue 27 Aug 2013

10 years of magic: 2004 Macau Open

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In this latest instalment of our looking back series, we relive all the action from the Macau Open back in 2004 where American Jason Knutzon won by one shot over Thai ace Thaworn Wiratchant at the US$275,000 Asian Tour event.
The Macau Open was held at the Macau Golf and Country Club from May 6 to May 9.
Knutzon fired a closing four-under-par 67 to seal his maiden Asian Tour triumph over Thaworn, who closed with a superb 65. Overnight leader Amandeep Johl of India and Taiwan’s Lu Wen-teh finished joint third while Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and last year’s runner-up Scott Barr of Australia shared fifth place.
The laid-back American, the son of a fighter pilot, finished in a blaze of glory, chipping in for birdie at the par three 17th before setting up the winning putt with a glorious 117-yard approach that stopped three feet from the pin. His four-day total of 16-under-par 268 was a Macau Open tournament record and he took home a prize purse of US$44,412.
“There have been a lot of times when I’ve been in contention but haven’t come through and it wears you down a bit. Any time you win it is a great feeling. This is nice,” said Knutzon, who picked a career in golf instead of joining the US Air Force.
“I got off to a bad start and bogeyed the first hole and then missed a few putts. I have not got my golf game here this week but my short game was unbelievable. I putted great and it shows that if you keep at it, good stuff can happen,” he added.
The final round in Macau was captivating, with Johl, who had led since the opening round, maintaining his grip through the front nine. When he made the turn, he led by two strokes but an errant tee shot on 10 which landed in thick bushes led to a double bogey six.
Barr, who lost in a play-off to Colin Montgomerie here last year, grabbed the lead on the 12th hole but double bogeyed the 13th to fall out of contention. It was a similar story with Harrington, the Macau Open’s top draw. He closed to gap with three birdies in his opening six holes but stumbled with a costly triple bogey on the eighth.
Thaworn surged up the leaderboard following a round that included seven birdies and set the clubhouse target of 15-under. But he could only watch from the greenside on 18 and admire Knutzon’s strong finish. “I couldn’t have shot any lower than a 65. I played really well but just came up short. I’ll have to settle for the second place cheque,” said the Thai.
The yoga-practising Johl was disappointed with yet another near miss. “I was cruising along through nine. Then I hit it into trouble and three putted the 10th and that cost me. I missed two two-footers on 12 (for bogey) and 13. That was the turning point and I couldn’t recover from that. I’ll come back and try again,” said Johl, still searching for the elusive first Asian Tour title.
Knutzon, playing in the final group with Harrington and Johl, never looked like a threat as he turned in even par and was four off the pace at that stage. Birdies on 13 and 14 coupled with the mistakes by his rivals sparked his amazing comeback before his memorable finish.
“One of my good friends, Zach Johnson, played with Padraig in the final group at the BellSouth Classic (on the US PGA Tour) and won the event. I don’t know if it was destiny that I should be playing with Padraig and winning today. Those two good chips on the back nine did it for me. Maybe it was destiny afterall,” said Knutzon.
Ends.
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Canon (Official Imaging Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.