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Tabuena pockets P337K

RABAT, Morocco — Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond won for the first time in nearly three years today when he triumphed in the $1.5 million International Series Morocco after a brilliant eagle, birdie finish at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam.

The 2019 Asian Tour number one closed with a fine six-under-par 67 to finish on 12 under and beat Canadian Richard T. Lee by one stroke.

Lee, who missed a 16-foot birdie putt on the last to force a play-off, shot a 70 while Spaniard David Puig fired a 73 to finish third, a stroke further back.

Meanwhile, Miguel Tabuena wound up in a tie for 51st place on 6-over 78 after a closing 78. He earned $5,764.29 (about P337,000).

Jazz, playing in the third from last group having started the day four shots behind overnight leader Puig, burst through to victory thanks to a stunning five-under-par back nine.

He made birdie on 11 and 15 but it was the short and driveable par-four 17th that proved to be pivotal. Lee, playing in the final group, had appeared to be in control and on course to win for much of the back nine but that all changed when Jazz found the green with his tee shot on 17 and holed a 20-foot eagle putt.

The Thai golfer then drew level with Lee after holing a five-footer for birdie on the par-five 18th.

To the surprise of everyone Lee then dropped a shot on 17, the easiest hole on the course, after finding trees off the tee before failing to draw level with Jazz on the last.

“It feels amazing. It’s been a long journey and I’m just so happy to end the year on a high note,” said Jazz, whose girlfriend and fellow professional golfer Sarina Schmidt caddied for him this week.

“I had three holes left and I wasn’t even nearly at the top. I just had a really good finish — everything was really quick. When that last putt dropped I just felt so relieved, the waiting game begun, and now I’m here!”

He last won in December of 2019 at the Thailand Masters, which was one of his four wins that year.

“It’s been a long time since my last trophy — since before Covid. Now everything’s changed, I’ve found my way through and we’re here,” said the Thai, who has now tasted victory on seven occasions on the Asian Tour.

“This was my first time in Morocco and the city of Rabat has been amazing — the culture, the food the people, everything. I heard a lot about this golf course already from people I play with and I knew it was going to be hard, but it’s exceeded all my expectations.”

“I’ve been out nine weeks in a row and I’m tired now and my back’s hurting, but I came in with an open mind to exploring Morocco and Rabat, and I think that helped me win, because I didn’t come in with high expectations.”

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