Kieran Vincent made it a unique brotherly double on the Asian Tour today, when he claimed the International Series Vietnam at KN Golf Links – just 10 months after his brother Scott won the International Series England.
The Zimbabwean, in just his second year as a professional, holed a decisive 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to beat Anirban Lahiri from India and Australian Kevin Yuan by one stroke.
Vincent shot a six-under-par 66, for a four-round aggregate of 19 under, while Lahiri carded a 64 and Yuan, who missed a similar length birdie putt on the last to force a sudden-death play-off, a 68.
Japan’s Takumi Kanaya had started the day with a three-shot advantage but, unlike the International Series Oman in February where he triumphed after also holding the third-round lead, he struggled on the back nine and closed with a 73 to tie for fourth, on 16 under, with American Michael Maguire (66), Korea’s Taehee Lee (67) and Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai (67), Pawin Ingkhapradit (68) and Jazz Janewattananond (70).
“It is surreal right now,” said the 25-year-old Vincent, who won US$360,000.“I think there are so many people I have to thank at this stage that have put so much time and effort into me that they deserve it more than myself.“I feel like I am a lead singer in a band of people that have done so much for me. I am very appreciative. I don’t think it is going to sink in for a while.”The Zimbabwean’s putter seemed to go cold on Saturday, but he bounced back today with six birdies and no dropped shots.About his final putt, he said: “That is the game of golf, you win some, you lose some, some go in, some don’t, and I am just very thankful it went in at the right time, when I needed it, and so I was just lucky enough to keep giving myself opportunities. Yeah I could not have dreamed it any better.He’s moved into second place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit (OOM) and third on the International Series OOM, giving him a chance to emulate his brother Scott who won last year’s International Series merit list and is now playing on the LIV Golf League.
American Andy Ogletree remains in pole position on both OOMs.
Yuan, playing in the last group, came close to spoiling the party for Vincent, in the group ahead, but narrowly missed his birdie putt on 18.
Said Yuan: “I gave it my all out there today. Left a few shots out there today and a few shots out there this week, but I’m happy with where my game is and the progression that it’s on. I think it was an awesome round by Kieran today and a huge win for him, congrats to him. But overall, I’m pretty satisfied with how my tournament went and looking for more good things to come.”
The result continued a remarkable run of form by the up-and-coming golfer from Sydney, who has made the cut in all eight events on the Asian Tour this season. His result today improved upon his previous best finish, which was fifth place at the International Series Thailand last month.
Seven-time Asian Tour winner Lahiri was attempting to win his first Asian Tour title in eight years and was a strong favourite after storming through the field in the fifth from last group making eight birdies in his first 14 holes, with no dropped shots, but he could only par the last four holes.
“I’m happy with the way I played, disappointed not to make a couple more coming in,” said Lahiri, the Asian Tour’s number one player in 2015 before embarking on a successful career on the PGA Tour.
“You know I got off to a really good start. I kind of found my rhythm yesterday and today so that was nice. Yeah, a little upset not to make maybe one or two in the last four holes which are very gettable. So yeah, great week, but it’s disappointing. I’ve had so many seconds now I need to break this habit of mine.”
The Indian star heads to the LIV Golf Adelaide event next week before LIV Golf Singapore
“Excited to take this form into the next few weeks. I think it is going to be an important stretch over the next month, month and a half. You know, you get into the meat of the season. And very exciting to go to Australia. I’ve been to Adelaide and I’m hearing great things about the venue, about the people and the anticipation, the buzz is great. I’m expecting it to be one of the best events of the year actually, for LIV. So yeah, you know, we’ll be off tomorrow and the show goes on.”
The Asian Tour heads to Korea next for the GS Caltex Maekyung Open, which will be played at its regular home Nam Seoul County Club from May 4-7. Korean Bio Kim is the defending champion.
*Credit information to www.asiantour.com