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New Kuta, Bali, November 6: Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines strolled to a commanding 11-stroke victory at the inaugural US$60,000 Bali Open after a final round of six-under-par 66 on Saturday.


Leading by three overnight, the sweet-swinging Pagunsan did not give his closest challenger Jarmo Sandelin of Sweden a sniff at the title with another accomplished round which included seven birdies at the New Kuta Golf Resort.


Former Ryder Cup star Sandelin, playing on a sponsor’s invite, finished a distant second after a closing 74 while Japan’s Masaki Sakata and Martin Rominger of Switzerland shared third place.


In what was the final event of the inaugural Asian Development Tour season, Malaysia’s Akhmal Tarmizee clung on to third place on the Order of Merit to join countryman and top-ranked S. Siva Chandhran and Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Chia-jen, who finished second on the rankings, on the Asian Tour next season.


Closest challengers T.J. Kim of Korea, Thailand’s Thanyakorn Khrongpha and Indonesian Rory Hie failed to produce the results to dislodge Akhmal, who had missed the halfway cut on Thursday.


But the star of the show was Pagunsan, who is a winner on the Asian Tour. Playing on a sponsor’s invite, he tightened his grip on the Bali Open with an outward 33 and with Sandelin failing to keep pace, Pagunsan cruised home with further birdies on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes and totaled 15-under-par 273 for the week.


“I played well, everything worked for me this week,” said Pagunsan, who earned US$10,500. “I knew I needed to get ahead of Jarmo and waited for him to make mistakes. After the front nine, I was in total control.


“This win will be a good confidence booster as we’ve got the Barclays Singapore Open and UBS Hong Kong Open coming up on the Asian Tour,” added the Filipino.


Sandelin, a five-time winner on the European Tour, tipped his cap to the winner. “Juvic played fantastic golf. Looking back, my momentum was stopped yesterday when I made the mistake by lifting my ball on the 12th hole,” said the Swede.


“I didn’t hole a putt all day, only one on 18. But I’ve enjoyed my time in Bali and a second will always be a second no matter what tournament it is. Hopefully I can build on this,” he added.


The 20-year-old Akhmal was overjoyed to earn a priceless Asian Tour card for next year which was the reward for the top three finishers on the Order of Merit.


“It’s a big relief,” said the Malaysian, who thought he had blown his chances after rounds of 75 and 82. “I was worried over the last two days as there were a few players who could have caught me.


“Now that I’ve got my Asian Tour card, I’m going to work really hard on my game and prepare well for next season,” added Akhmal.


Asian Tour 

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