SINGAPORE – LIV Golf League member David Puig on Sunday claimed a majestic five-shot victory in the $2 million International Series Singapore tournament to register his maiden victory in the professional game.
The 21-year-old from Spain – the youngest LIV Golf player on any roster this season – scored a stunning final-round triumph, shooting a final round 1-for-73 to finish the Asian Tour event on 19-under, with Korea’s Jaewoong Eom finishing second after scoring 69 points.
American Andy Ogletree took another step closer to securing the Order of Merit in Asia and the International Series, closing with a 69 that included a hole-in-one on the par-3 fourth level to finish in third place with Thailand’s Poom Saksansin with her 68th Order of Merit winner The International Series at the end of the season earns the privileges of playing for the entire season in the 2024 LIV Golf League.
Puig had a nine-shot lead at the start of the day thanks to rounds of 64, 66 and 66 and was never threatened. Playing conservatively, he made the turn from one under with a birdie on 8, then wavered slightly with bogeys on 11 and 14. The 21-year-old had a six-point lead playing 18, which his playing partner Eom birdied.
“It’s amazing,” said Puig, who won $360,000 and became the youngest winner of the International Series event.
“You know, it’s my first year as a professional, but I think I deserved to win probably two or three months before that day. But yes, it’s amazing, it’s the best feeling in the world. That’s why I practice so hard and I’m very happy.”
His success is no surprise as he has come close to winning numerous times since turning professional last September, including in his first competition, the International Series Morocco, where he was third, and the International Series England in August, when he finished fourth.
It was only his ninth start on the Asian Tour, earning him second place on the International Series Order of Merit and fourth place on the Asian Tour Merit List.
His success is the result of an outstanding season in the LIV Golf League, where he played for the Torque GC team, which won four team trophies this season.
Said Puig: “It has been an amazing journey. I had a good opportunity to join LIV right out of college and I think I took advantage of it and played quite well this year. I also want to thank my team, the Torque team, they have always been very helpful to me and I have learned a lot from them. And yes, playing against these guys is a dream come true. But I think I should be here and I showed it today.
Sunday’s victory is excellent preparation for next week’s LIV Golf Jeddah, the final regular season event of 2023. He will be hoping to improve on his best individual result at LIV Golf, which finished fourth at the LIV Golf Greenbrier in August.
Eom’s strong finish allowed him to repeat his best performance on the Asian Tour when he finished second at the New Zealand Open in March.
“I’m very happy with the way I played this week,” Eom said.
“It’s nice to finish with a birdie at the end. I actually had a lot of chances on the pitch, but it was just too hot outside. I felt dizzy, so on the 15th I made a bogey. However, I managed to maintain this position and finish the race well, taking second place. It’s nice to take second place in such a big tournament. It will also help me save my card for next year.”
The Korean suffered a left wrist injury several years ago, underwent surgery and spent a year and a half recovering before returning last year.
Ogletree’s ace was the result of a brilliant 230-yard five that went straight to the cup.
He said: “Yeah, it was crazy. I did not see that. I just had a really bad hole in three and was trying to decide between four and five. I said, let’s high five and give it a shot, and it stuck. Crazy. We heard him hit the pin, but we didn’t know where he went. We got there and there it was, in the hole.
It was his ninth hole in one, and he made a birdie on the next hole.
Interestingly, moments earlier, Japan’s Jinichiro Kozuma had won the brand new BYD SEAL EV with a stunning ace on the par-3 16th. He shot a perfect nine and received the keys to an electric vehicle.
Singaporean amateur Ryan Ang also finished in a blaze of glory, hitting his second shot on the par four ninth hole, which was his final hole, for an Eagle Two and 68. His six-under score meant he finished as the top local player in a tie for 23.
The SJM Macao Open is the next stop on the Asian Tour, which begins on Thursday at Macau Golf and Country Club. This is the first edition of this event since 2017, when India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar won for the second time.
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