10 years of Magic: 2004 Myanmar Open

Fri 19 Jul 2013

10 years of Magic: 2004 Myanmar Open

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In this instalment of our looking back series, we relive all the action from the 2004 Myanmar Open where three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, clinched his fifth Asian Tour title back then.
We gain a deeper insight into the Thai legend’s early playing days on the Asian Tour, which is celebrating its 10th season this year.
Thongchai Jaidee’s victory at the US$200,000 Myanmar Open was his second win in two months and it further extended his lead in the career earning rankings to over US$1.16million in a short span of five years since 1999.
The Thai ace fired a final round three-under-par 69 at the majestic Yangon Golf Club where he eventually triumphed by three shots over American Andrew Pitts, who carded a 71. Thongchai compiled a winning total of 12-under-par 276 and took home the winner’s cheque of US$32,300. He also joined compatriot Boonchu Ruangkit as the tournament’s only two-time winners, having won there in 2002.
Before his triumph at the Myanmar Open in 2004, he had finished 10th, eighth and tied fourth in the previous three tournaments. The Asia’s number one in 2001, also earned over US$213,000 from the last five events before the Myanmar Open.
Korean-born Australian Unho Park finished third following a fine 67 while Singapore’s Mardan Mamat and halfway leader Alistair Presnell shared fourth place on 282, six shots behind the winner.
“I’ve very happy,” said a jubilant Thongchai, then. “It seems like I always do well here in the Myanmar Open. I feel like my game is very good right now.”
In what turned out to be an enthralling matchplay duel on the back nine, Thongchai had to dig deep into his reserves at the sun-baked Yangon layout to prevail.
He started the day one shot ahead of Pitts but stumbled to a 37 on the front nine as the American took a two-shot lead with birdies on the fifth and sixth.
Both players bogeyed the 10th but Thongchai soon drew level following a two-shot swing on the par three 11th which the Thai birdied and Pitts bogeyed after missing the green.
Pitts agonisingly dropped his third straight shot at 12 to hand the advantage again to Thongchai, who then turned on his style.
He birdied 14 from two feet and then struck three birdies in a row from the 16th to wrap up the title in front a large gallery.
“I didn’t panic after falling behind. I knew that I could catch Andrew as I like the back nine on this course,” said Thongchai, who hit home in 32. “I kept telling myself to hit fairways and greens and I just struck some nice wedge shots close to the pins for birdies.”
Pitts tipped his cap to the winner. “I played flawlessly on the front nine but then made some small mistakes which are magnified on this course. But Thongchai responded like the true champion that he is. He hit some really good shots on 14 and 16 to pull ahead.
“I eagled the par five 17th after hitting a three wood to three feet and thought that would put pressure on Thongchai but he got up and down from the greenside bunker for birdie on the same hole to keep a two-shot lead, which very much sealed it for him,” said Pitts.
Singapore-based Park bogeyed his first hole but hit four birdies on the trot to surge up the leaderboard. He then birdied 16 and 17 for third place. “I hit some good shots which seem to be a continuation of how I’ve played in recent weeks. I had a good start but I didn’t think I was in with a chance as I felt Thongchai would play a few under par.”
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.