SINGAPORE (AFP) – Olympic medallist Matt Kuchar fought back from a triple-bogey to win the Singapore Open yesterday in a boost ahead of the Tokyo Games, while fellow Rio winner Justin Rose finished second.
The three men’s golf medallists from the 2016 Rio Olympics appeared at the event, with their performances closely watched for clues about their form before the Tokyo Games start in July.
While Rio bronze medallist Kuchar of the United States (US) and gold winner Rose of England had good tournaments, there was disappointment for silver medallist Henrik Stenson who finished 23rd.
Kuchar looked strongest throughout and went into the final day of the USD1 million event with a three-shot lead, but nearly let victory slip from his grasp on the par-five seventh. His tee shot came up against the root of a tree and he missed the ball on his first bid to hit it clear.
His approach shot then flew left of the green and went out of bounds, but he eventually managed to hole a putt from 10 feet for a triple-bogey eight.
He staged a strong comeback however, with birdies on the 11th and 16th helping him push ahead of his closest rivals, before he sank a birdie putt to win the tournament with a final round one-under-par 70.
“Seven was a disastrous hole to make (a) triple-bogey,” said the world number 24. “I’m awfully proud of being able to bounce back from adversity and being able to not let hard things get the best of me.”
The win was a boost for Kuchar in his campaign to qualify for the Olympics.