10 years of magic: 2004 Malaysian Open

Wed 24 Jul 2013

10 years of magic: 2004 Malaysian Open

  • SHARE
In the latest instalment of our looking back series, we relive all the action from the 2004 Carlsberg Malaysian Open where three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand sensationally lifted his sixth Asian Tour title in Kuala Lumpur following another victory in Myanmar the previous week.
The Carlsberg Malaysian Open was held from February 19 to 22 at the majestic Saujana Golf and Country Club.
Spurred on by an ace on the par-three 16th, Thongchai then showed total dominance by going on to beat Australian Brad Kennedy by two shots to win the US$1.21 million event which was sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
The Thai fired a four-under-par 68 for a winning total of 14-under-par 274.
Victory was especially sweet for Thongchai as he had previously enjoyed another win at the Myanmar Open just one week before coming over to Malaysia.
Kennedy, who finished equal second in the previous year’s Carlsberg Malaysian Open, closed with a 67.
The Australian had the opportunity to force a play-off with Thongchai with a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-five 18th. But his putt slipped past and he missed the return.
Thongchai won US$201,660 for his victory and became the seventh Asian player to win a co-sanctioned event with the European Tour while Kennedy earned US$134,440.
“It was the breakthrough result that I was looking for. I finally won a co-sanctioned tournament,” said Thongchai, who earned a three-year exemption to play in Europe following his win back then.
The third round of the tournament was delayed by bad weather and the whole field had to finish their third round on Sunday morning.
Thongchai shot a 64 to finish two strokes behind leader Lee Sung-man from Korea who led on 12 under for the tournament but fell back in the final round with a 77.
In order to ensure 72 holes could be completed, the players remained in the third round pairings for the final round. It meant that Thongchai was playing well ahead of the final groups.
He struggled on the front side going out in two over before charging home with a brilliant back nine.
“I was able to change gear on the back nine,” said Thongchai, who birdied 10th, 13th, 15th, and 18th. He chipped in for birdie on 13th and holed a four footer on the last for a back nine of six-under-par 30.
However his wonder shot on the 16th overshadowed everything else. He hit a six iron on the 188-yard hole for the second hole-in-one of his professional career.
“I hit the shot with a bit of draw. You can’t see the green from the tee and I was just trying to get it on the green,” said Thongchai, whose ball landed 15 feet from the pin and bounced three times before dropping into the cup.
With his win, Thongchai moved to the top of the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
“I tried to maintain my emotions today. I was very nervous over the last putt,” added the Thai.
Kennedy had four holes left to play when Thongchai finished his round. He would have birdied 14th to go to 13 under but was unable to hole the putts on his way into the clubhouse.
“I shot 33 on the front nine which got me going. Then birdied 11th, 12th and 14th and that gave me an opportunity. I thought a couple of guys ahead of me would be pushing ahead but asked my caddie on the last what we needed to do. Knew we needed to make four. I gave it my best but came up a little short,” said Kennedy.
Thailand’s Chawalit Plaphol and Prayad Marksaeng and Frenchman Thomas Levet finished on 10 under who shot respective rounds of 73, 70 and 70.
Ireland’s Paul McGinley carded a 70 and finished on six under while Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie was a stroke further back after closing with a 72.
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.