Battling Both Wins Johnnie Walker
Cambodian Open 2009

November 22, 2009

Australia's Marcus Both ended a frustrating six-year title drought on the Asian Tour after securing a nail-biting one-stroke victory over Malaysia's Shaaban Hussin at the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open on Sunday.

The Australian was six off the pace going into the final round but fired a closing five-under-par 67 to secure a winning total of nine-under-par 279 at the US$300,000 Asian Tour tournament.

Shaaban needed a birdie on the 18th hole to force a play-off but could only make par as he signed for a 70 to finish a career-high second at the Phokeethra Country Club. Singapore's Mardan Mamat (67), Shiv Kapur of India (70) and Thailand's rising star Annop Tangkamolprasert (74) finished a further shot behind on 281.

Overnight leader Craig Smith of Wales failed to maintain his title charge and closed with a disappointing 76 for tied sixth place alongside Will Yanagisawa of the United States and Thailand's Pariya Junhasavasdikul on 282.

Both was delighted to return to the winner's rostrum. "I was not thinking about winning and the only time I looked at the leader board was when I was walking up on the 16th hole. I thought I needed to shoot six-under to get close but I guess I'm just fortunate that everything fell my way," said Both, who took home US$47,550.

The lanky Australian started his charge with birdies on the second, sixth and eight holes to make the turn in 33 and continued his hot streak with three consecutive birdies from the 11th hole. A dropped shot on the 14th hole ensured a nervous wait in the clubhouse for Both.

He also dedicated his Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open victory to his mother who celebrated her birthday today. "I was talking to my mother yesterday and she told me that a top-10 would be a good present so I guess this win is the icing on the cake," said Both.

Shaaban came agonizingly close after challenging for the lead with four birdies en route to a 70 but at the end, he rued a double bogey on the ninth hole after finding water. He needed to birdie the last hole to force extra-time but could only make a par after finding the fairway bunker.

"I am really disappointed with my finish because I really gave it my all. Even though I finished second, deep down inside, I feel that I am a winner. This is my best finish on the Asian Tour and I think if I can continue to push like I did this week, my maiden title will come soon enough," said Shaaban.

Singaporean veteran Mardan was also in sensational form as he carded a flawless round highlighted by five birdies. He closed with a 12-foot birdie on the 18th hole and was delighted to finish joint third.

"I have been struggling with my putting throughout the year but when I was practicing my putting yesterday, I managed to find what was bothering me and I think that's why I started to sink more putts.

"It has been quite a long time since I saw my name on the leader board so it was about time to shoot something good," said Mardan, who will partner compatriot Lam Chih Bing in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup next week.

Kapur started his round brightly with three birdies on the second, fourth and fifth holes but suffered a double bogey on the seventh hole, which derailed his title push. He finished with a 70, which should be enough to secure his Asian Tour card for next season.

"One of the goals that I wanted to accomplish coming into this week was to secure my card and I managed to accomplish that. I didn't get my win but it was nice to be in contention. Sometimes you just come out short," said the Indian.

Leading final round scores

279 – Marcus Both (AUS) 70-69-73-67
280 – Shaaban Hussin (MAS) 71-67-72-70
281- Mardan Mamat (SIN) 74-70-70-67, Shiv Kapur (IND) 70-67-74-70, Annop Tangkamolprasert (THA) 68-69-70-74
282 - Will Yanagisawa (USA) 71-67-75-69, Pariya Junhasavasdikul (THA) 68-70-72-72, Craig Smith (WAL) 69-66-71-76
283 - Lam Chih Bing (SIN) 73-72-69-69, Somchai Pongpaew (THA) 71-67-75-70, Bryan Saltus (USA) 73-70-69-71, Jbe Kruger (RSA) 72-70-69-72
284 - Anirban Lahiri (IND) 70-71-75-68, Anthony Kang (USA) 71-75-70-68, Nakul Vichitryuthasastr (THA) 75-67-71-71, Varut Chomchalam (THA) 71-68-72-73
285 - Rhys Davies (WAL) 74-71-72-68, Pijit Petchkasem (THA) 72-69-74-70, Vikrant Chopra (IND) 69-71-75-70, Artemio Murakami (PHI) 68-69-76-72

Mr. Marcus Both, Champion of Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open 2009

Prize Presentation at the closing ceremony

Champion and VIPs

Mr. Prom Meesawat, Pro-Thai Golfer

Mr. Thammanoon Srirote, Pro-Thai Golfer

Mr. Annop Tangkamolprasert, Pro-Thai Golfer