Friday, December 06, 2019

Thai rookie Kosuke makes his presence felt at Taipei tournament

Sep 09. 2019
Thai-Japanese Kosuke Hamamoto (Asian Tour Photo)
Thai-Japanese Kosuke Hamamoto (Asian Tour Photo)
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By The Nation

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Thai-Japanese Kosuke Hamamoto enjoyed his best finish on the Asian Tour, finishing three shots behind winner Yikeun Chang of South Korea at the US$500,000 Yeangder Tournament Players Championship (TPC) in Taipei on Sunday.

Talented Thai rookie Kosuke Hamamoto continued his fine form to sign a bogey-free 67 for a total 18-under-par 270, three behind Chang who signed off with a 267. The 20-year-old Kosuke, born to a Japanese father and Thai mother, impressively kept the bogeys off his card for the last 52 holes.

“To be honest, I was quite nervous going out today because I knew a really good finish could maybe make the rest of the year a lot easier. Because I really want to be in the top 60 next year. I think I should be safe now, but you know the goal is to keep improving on the Order of Merit ranking and just keep going forward,” said the Chiang Mai-born, who came through 2019 Qualifying School last December.

He started the season with a missed cut in Bangladesh, and has since posted a tied-28th, tied-16th and tied-10th finish in Jakarta last week.

“I hung in there really well this week. I felt like I played my own game really well, just did my own process really well today. I’m happy. It’s my first time playing this tournament. I didn’t expect anything but I just knew I was in pretty good form coming here and I just wanted to keep it going,” added the 2017 SEA Games men’s individual gold medallist.


Chang shook off his bridesmaid’s tag when he closed with a flawless six-under-par 66 to seal a three-shot victory for his maiden Asian Tour title

The 25-year-old Chang, a three-time runner-up on the Asian Tour, overcame a one-shot deficit as he rode a hot putter to return with a bogey-free round highlighted by six birdies at the Linkou International Golf and Country Club.

Chang takes home the winner’s prize purse of US$90,000 following his breakthrough. His winning total of 21-under-par 267 is the record lowest 72-hole score in the tournament’s 10-year history.

“This is my first Asian Tour win and it means a lot to me. I’ve been on this Tour for four years and I’ve had like three second-place finishes already. I just couldn’t get it done, but it feels really nice to get it done now. I’m planning to take a one-week break in Taipei before heading back home. I’m looking forward to it,” said Chang, the first Korean player to win the tournament.

Taiwanese hotshot Chan Shih-chang was disappointed not to recapture the trophy on home soil after battling to a 70 to finish in third place on 271. The 33-year-old, however, stayed positive as he capped his best result this season after missing six cuts in eight starts prior to this week.

Overnight leader Lin Wen-tang settled a further shot back in fourth following a 72 but took pride in his commendable result, which marked his fourth top-five finish in 10 attempts at the Yeangder TPC.

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