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Peter Karmis of South Africa completed a remarkable wire-to-wire victory to claim his first Asian Tour title at the Handa Singapore Classic on Sunday.
Karmis posted a one-under-par-71 for a four-day total of 21-under-par 267 to defeat battling compatriot Jbe Kruger by two strokes at the Orchid Country Club.
Kruger was tied for the lead after 10 holes but fell behind after two costly bogeys on holes 13 and 14. This was Kruger’s second runner-up finish this season as he closed with a 69 for a 269 total at the US$400,000 full field Asian Tour event.
Thailand’s Pariya Junhasavasdikul (68) signed off with a 270 total to finish in third place, his best placing this season while Australia’s Scott Hend (67) was two strokes back on 272 at the inaugural tournament.
Evergreen Mardan Mamat was the best local performer, finishing in tied fifth place with Chinese Taipei’s Chan Yih-shin and Korean Young Nam on a 273 total.
“The first thing that comes into my mind is all the privileges that come from winning on the Asian Tour. The rest of my year is pretty much sorted out for this year and the next. It has suddenly changed from wondering if I could get into tournaments to getting into all the tournaments,” said Karmis.
Karmis, who earned his Tour card from the Asian Tour Qualifying School in Thailand this year, got off to a slow start after making the turn on even-par 37 and carding a bogey on the 10th hole. His round turned for the better when he birdied holes 11, 15 and 17.
“I actually hit good iron shots on the front nine but they just went long and I missed a couple of short putts. I was hitting the ball well and I would rate today as the best I have hit so far. But I missed the greens by a fraction and had tricky chips,” said Karmis, who won a cool US$63,400 for his victory.
The South African, who endured a sleepless night yesterday, tipped his hat to his resilient compatriot.
“Jbe is a great player and he is such a fighter and never gives up ever. When I bogeyed the 10th hole, it was like a wake up call because I slipped back to tie for the lead. I had to remain focus and I’m glad I came out on top. It feels like a huge burden has lifted off my chest,” said the two-time winner in South Africa.
Kruger, who lost in a play-off to Bangladeshi Siddikur at the Brunei Open in August, had to settle for his second runner-up finish but was gracious in defeat.
“I could have shot more birdies on the front nine but failed to convert my chances. I feel I’m getting closer to victory and overall I’m happy with my performance and happy that Peter (Karmis) won. He played a great tournament,” said Kruger who posted five birdies against two bogeys.
Pariya posted a flawless round highlighted by four birdies and was lucky not to drop a shot on the 15th hole when his tee shot found water. He recovered with a superb up-and-down putt from 15 feet to claim his best finish on the Asian Tour.
“I can’t describe how I’m feeling. This is my best season and I’m playing in my best form so I’ll try to keep the momentum going,” said the 25-year-old.
Playing competitively for the sixth week, Mardan made a strong surge up the leaderboard after making the turn in three-under-par 34 but failed to maintain the pace with two closing bogeys.
“It was disappointing to bogey the last two holes but I can take pride that I can still play some great golf at the age of 42! I’m going to take a break from golf for about a week and resume playing competitively in two weeks time,” said the two-time Asian Tour winner.
 The International Representative for International Sports Promotion Society (ISPS), Wayne Smith lauded the success of the Handa Singapore Classic.             
“I would like to congratulate Peter Karmis for a great performance this week.  The inaugural Handa Singapore Classic has been a fantastic event and I would like to thank the Asian Tour, the Orchid Country Club as well as the other sponsors and volunteers for a great week,” said Smith.  
“ISPS is committed to growing the sport and also create opportunities for disability sport. ISPS works closely with the International Blind Golf Association (IBGA) and together with some of the Tour pros we have used this tournament to help promote blind golf and hope to encourage more people who are visually impaired to take up the sport.  We also hope that blind and disabled golf can be included in the Paralympic in the near future,” he added.
The final two rounds of the Handa Singapore Classic were broadcast live over two days throughout Asia and several countries in Europe.
Countries that beamed the live coverage of the Handa Singapore Classic include StarHub Golf Channel in Singapore, Astro Golf Channel in Malaysia, CCTV Golf Channel in China, PCCW in Hong Kong, True Vision in Thailand, Sports Cast in Chinese Taipei, Balls Channel in Philippines, JGolf in Korea, Fox Sports in Australia, Viasat in Scandinavia, Canal+ in Spain, SportTV in Portugal and Iko Balkan in the Balkans.

Asian Tour 

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