Malaysian Open paves The Open gateway for David Puig

0
57
David Puig - TheGolfingHub
As the Malaysian Open is part of The Open Qualifying Series, David Puig (IN PIC), Jeunghun Wang and Denwit Boriboonsub have all made it through to The Open at Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland, from July 18-21. Photo: Asian Tour

David Puig’s stock went up once again today after he claimed the US$1 million IRS Prima Malaysian Open – for his second victory on the Asian Tour in four months.

Related: In surge of Jared Du Toit, rookies rule at Malaysian Open

Big things are expected of the young Spaniard who plays on the LIV Golf League, and he showed why by firing his second successive bogey-free nine-under-par 62 for a spectacular tournament total of 23-under and a two-shot win.

On a day of incredibly low scoring at The Mines Resort and Golf Club, in the first event of the season on the Asian Tour, Korean Jeunghun Wang returned a 61 to finish second, while Thailand’s Denwit Boriboonsub came in with the same score to tie for third with John Catlin from the United States, who shot a 66.

As preferred lies were played no records were officially set, including Denwit’s back nine of eight-under-par 28 which matched the Asian Tour record.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Asian Tour (@asiantour)

As the event is part of The Open Qualifying Series, Puig, Wang and Denwit have all made it through to The Open at Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland, from July 18-21. Only the leading three go through with Catlin denied a place as Denwit’s world ranking is higher.

Said 22-year-old Puig: “It feels great, weird feeling for sure. We almost missed the cut. I was kind of playing good, but I kind of messed up. We actually finished round two good, and the weekend was just insane man. I mean 18 birdies, no bogeys, in 36 holes was unbelievable. And getting that Open spot is super cool, I came here for that.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Asian Tour (@asiantour)

He started the final round three behind overnight leader Jared Du Toit from Canada but quickly moved into contention when he made the turn in five under with birdies on two, three, four, six and seven. It put him in share of the lead with Wang on 19-under.

Puig then took over at the top when he made birdie on 10, and then proceeded to birdie the next two for a two-shot gap.

Both Wang and Denwit were playing further ahead of Puig, so the Spaniard had to stay fully focused and in control on the homeward stretch. A birdie on 17 did much to help his cause.

“I had to be careful on those last four or five holes,” he said. “Even holes before that, there is a lot of water on the back nine. You have to keep being steady because birdies can come very fast but so can big numbers.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Asian Tour (@asiantour)

He becomes the first Spaniard to win the tournament.

His name will be engraved on the trophy, named The Seagram Trophy,  alongside some giants of the game including: Lee Westwood, Vijay Singh, Louis Oosthuizen, and Thongchai Jaidee.

Wang and Denwit both shot the lowest rounds of their careers – an appropriate time to do that with The Open qualifications at stake.

“I have not been playing well lately, so this is a really good result for me, and a great start for me. I am working on trying to repeat my old swing and that worked today,” said Wang, a three-time champion on the DP World Tour, and a winner on the Asian Tour.

“I started really well on the first three holes and from there I got really confident. After that all my shots were going at the flags. I didn’t miss a single shot or putt.”

Wang actually regained his Asian Tour card at the Qualifying School last month.

For Denwit it was yet another stunning week of golf coming off the back of a sensational finish to 2023 when he won in three successive weeks: the Saudi Open, the final Asian Tour event of 2023, which came after winning the Thailand Open on the All Thailand Golf Tour, and the Aramco Invitational on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) the week before that.

“Today was amazing golf,” said 20-year-old Denwit.

“The first nine was a bit of a struggle but then I told my caddie lets have some fun on the back nine. I was four shots back from the lead and I started holing putts from everywhere. I chipped in and everything happened.

“I am just not think about it, just hitting it as hard as I can and trying to make putts.”

Both Puig and Denwit will be making their debuts in The Open, while Wang has played in it twice before, in 2016, when it was also staged at Royal Troon, and 2017.

Du Toit shot a 71 to tie for seventh, six behind Puig, while Khavish Varadan, the joint leader at the halfway mark, ended as the leading Malaysian after closing with a 68. He finished in equal 13th, on 15-under.

Thailand’s Ratchanon ‘TK’ Chantananuwat was the top amateur, after signing off with a 66, to end in a tie for 40th. He was the only amateur to make it through to the weekend.

Malaysia’s National Open was also notable for the fact that 17 graduates from last month’s Asian Tour Qualifying School survived the cut as did five players from the top-10 of last year’s ADT Order of Merit – an indication of the increasing number of playing opportunities that the Tour offers.

The Asian Tour sets course for the middle next week for the US$2 million International Series Oman. The first of 10 International Series events to be played this year – it will be held at Al Mouj Golf from February 22-25. Last year Al Mouj was voted by the Asian Tour membership as the course of the year, along with the Hong Kong Golf Club.