David Puig strolled to a majestic five-shot win in the US$2 million International Series Singapore today – to register his maiden victory in the professional game.
He completed a stunning wire-to-wire triumph after firing a final round one-over-par 73 to finish the Asian Tour event on 19-under, with Jaewoong Eom from Korea finishing in second place, after carding a 69.
American Andy Ogletree took another step closer to securing both the Asian Tour and International Series Order of Merits by closing with a 69, which featured a hole-in-one on the par-three fourth, to finish in a tie for third with Thailand’s Poom Saksansin, in with a 68.
Puig had a nine-shot lead at the start of the day thanks to rounds of 64, 66 and 66 and was never challenged. Playing conservatively, he made the turn in one under with a birdie on eight, before a minor wobble with bogeys on 11 and 14. The 21-year-old had a six-shot lead playing 18, which playing partner Eom birdied.
“It’s awesome,” said Puig, who won US$360,000, and became the youngest winner of an International Series event.
“You know, this is my first year as a professional, but I think I deserved a win probably two or three months before this day. But, yeah, it’s awesome, it’s the best feeling in the world. That’s why I practice so hard and yeah, very happy.”
His win comes as no surprise, as since turning professional in September last year he has been close to winning on numerous occasions, including in his first event the International Series Morocco, where he was third, and the International Series England in August, when he tied for fourth.
This was only his ninth start on the Asian Tour and moved him into second position on the International Series Order of Merit and fourth place on the Asian Tour merit list.
His success comes off the back of an outstanding season on the LIV Golf League, where he has been playing for Torque GC – the dominant team this year, having won four times.
He added: “It has been an awesome journey. I had a good opportunity to join LIV right after college and I think I took advantage of that and played pretty good this year. Also, I want to say thanks to my team, the Torque team, they have always been very helpful to me, and I learned a lot from them. And yeah, playing against these guys, it’s a dream come true. But I think I should be here and then today I showed that.”
Today’s victory is the perfect preparation for next week’s LIV Golf Jeddah – the final regular-season event of 2023. He’ll be hoping to improve on his best individual finish on LIV Golf, which is joint fourth place at LIV Golf Greenbrier in August.
Eom’s strong finish allowed him to match his best performance on the Asian Tour, as he tied for second in the New Zealand Open in March.
“I’m very pleased with the way I played this week,” said Eom.
“Nice to finish with a birdie on the last. I actually had a lot of chances out there, but it was just too hot outside. I was feeling dizzy out there, that’s why I made a bogey on the 15th. But I managed to hang in there and finish well to claim second. It feels good to finish runner-up in a big tournament like this. It’s also going to help me keep my card for next year.”
The Korean injured his left wrist a couple of years ago, underwent surgery and spent a year and a half recuperating before making a comeback last year.
Ogletree’s ace was the result of a magnificent five iron from 230 yards that flew straight into the cup.
He said: “Yeah, it was crazy. I didn’t see it. I just had a really bad hole on three and was trying to decide between a four and a five. I said let’s hit the five and give it a chance, and it flew in. Crazy. We heard it hit the pin, but we didn’t know where it went. We got up there, and there it was in the hole.”
It was his ninth hole in one and he also chipped in on the next hole for a birdie.
Remarkably, moment earlier, Japan’s Jinichiro Kozuma won a brand new BYD SEAL EV thanks to a superb ace on the par-three 16th. He fired in a perfect nine-iron and claimed the keys to the electric vehicle.
Singapore amateur Ryan Ang also finished in a blaze of glory holing his second shot on the par-four ninth, his final hole, for an eagle two and a 68. His six-under total meant he finished as the leading local player in a tie for 23rd.
The SJM Macao Open is the next stop on the Asian Tour and tees-off on Thursday at Macau Golf and Country Club. It is the first time the event has been played since 2017, when India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar won the event for the second time.