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Johl goes down fighting

May 04, 2003 15:40 IST
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Korea's Chung Joon held off a fast-charging Amandeep Johl of India to secure a one-shot triumph at the US$400,000 Maekyung Open at Nam Seoul Country Club on Sunday.

Chung, who led by three strokes heading into the final round, carded a three-under-par 69 for his maiden Asian PGA Tour title but was stretched till the end by Johl, who was also seeking his elusive first win.

Johl closed with a superb 67 and tied for the lead twice on the 12th and 16th holes. But at the 18th hole, his approach hit a camera tripod and ricocheted off to the front of the green which led to a costly bogey.

Thai star Thongchai Jaidee, Asia's number one in 2001, carded a 67 to finish third on his own on 278, three shots behind the winner. He had six birdies on the card against a lone bogey for his fourth top-10 of the season.

"This is unbelievable," said Chung, who totaled 13-under-par 275 for the event and picked up a winner's cheque of US$81,037.

"It's my first victory on the Asian PGA Tour and the first since winning a local circuit tournament in 1996. It has been a long seven years and I'll be aiming for another victory in the next seven months.

"I've messed up in final rounds on numerous occasions but it did not happen today. I think I've improved as a player over the years," added the 32-year-old, who posted five birdies against two bogeys today.

Johl eagled the par five fourth hole to launch his title charge and birdied 11 and 12 to draw level with Chung. However, the Korean responded immediately with a birdie on 13 and then both players birdied 15.

The Indian drew level for the second time with his fourth birdie of the day at the par five 16th before enduring a stroke of bad luck on 18, where nearly 5,000 local fans had gathered.

With the pin tucked to the back left, his approach veered slightly right and the ball struck the camera tripod and bounced back to off the front of the green.

Johl left his chip short of the pin and agonizingly two-putted to hand victory to Chung and settled for a consolation second prize of US$50,648.

Last year's winner Eddie Lee of New Zealand, who won as an amateur 12 months ago, carded a 67 to finish ninth for his best outing since turning professional last October.

Leading final scores

275 - Chung Joon (KOR) 70-68-68-69

276 - Amandeep Johl (IND) 70-70-69-67

278 - Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 74-68-69-67

279 - Choi Yoon-soo (KOR) 71-70-68-70

280 - Choi Sang-ho (KOR) 73-72-69-66, Shin Yong-jin (KOR) 74-71-66-69, Kim Kyung-tae [A] (KOR) 74-68-70-68, Choi Gwang-soo (KOR) 71-73-66-70

281 - Eddie Lee (NZL) 72-73-69-67

283 - Jang Ik-jae (KOR) 71-73-74-65, Unho Park (AUS) 73-70-73-67, Sushi
Ishigaki (JPN) 73-69-72-69, Ted Oh (KOR) 71-70-71-71

284 - Kim Sang-ho [A] (KOR) 76-70-71-67, Yoo Jong-koo (KOR) 73-72-72-67, Richard Backwell (AUS) 69-73-70-72, Suk Jong-ryul (KOR) 69-71-73-71, Kim Hyung-tae (KOR) 71-71-70-72

285 - Chris Williams (RSA) 75-69-73-68, Andrew Pitts (USA) 71-74-71-69, Park No-seok (KOR) 72-75-69-69

286 - Lee Kun-hee (KOR) 72-73-72-69, Brad Kennedy (AUS) 74-71-71-70, Yang Yong-eun (KOR) 74-70-71-71, Lim Hyung-soo (KOR) 73-71-71-71.

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