12th November 2023 – (Hong Kong) New Zealand’s Ben Campbell clinched a last-minute victory over his Australian and Thai rivals at the Hong Kong Open. With a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Campbell claimed his maiden win in the Asian Tour, a gripping finale to the $2 million tournament.
Campbell, who had not led at any point during the competition, delivered a four-under-par 66 in the concluding round to finish at 19-under-par overall. He beat Australia’s Cam Smith by a single stroke and Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai by two.
Smith completed the tournament with a 68 and Phachara with a 69 at the Hong Kong Golf Club on Sunday. Meanwhile, Canadian Richard T. Lee finished with a 64, tying for third place with Phachara.
The suspense of the contest heightened as all three players, who formed the final group, stood neck-and-neck before the last hole. The possibility of a sudden-death play-off loomed large over the proceedings.
However, Campbell managed to avoid a play-off, winning in regular time. Smith was compelled to lay up with his second shot and narrowly missed holing his third before making a four, while Phachara failed to score his birdie putt from 25 feet and three-putted following a miss from three feet.
Campbell’s victory in Hong Kong marks his second professional win, following his triumph at the New Zealand PGA Championship in 2018.
“Finally managing to get the monkey off my back feels good. I was battling all day,” Campbell commented on his performance. “I had a shaky start and my swing didn’t feel great. I reflected on some close losses and took notes in my yardage book last night. I put them to good use in the last four or five holes.”
In other news, American golfer Andy Ogletree emerged as the winner of the International Series Order of Merit. This victory presents him with a ‘golden ticket’ to participate in the multi-million dollar LIV Golf League next year. He achieved a joint 15th place following a score of 69.
Coming up next on the Asian Tour is the BNI Indonesian Masters. This $1.5 million event, staged at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club, is the final International Series event of the season and the penultimate tournament on the Asian Tour schedule.