Jaunty Jazz returns for title defence

Golf Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, cock-a-hoop at establishing himself in the world’s top 50, has confirmed he will defend the SMBC Singapore Open title he won in stylish fashion in January.

The 24-year-old Jazz jumped 12 places to 45th in the Official World Golf Ranking – sealing a coveted spot at The Masters – after his runaway win in the Indonesian Masters, his third success on the Asian Tour this year and fifth overall.

With his confidence sky high, Jazz will take on Major winners Justin Rose of England and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, American Matt Kuchar – buoyed by securing the half point that assured the United States retained the Presidents Cup – and the finest players from the Asian and Japan Tours at Sentosa Golf Club from January 16-19, 2020.

“After winning in Singapore (SMBC Singapore Open) and breaking into the top-100, my next goal was top 50. I am really happy to achieve it. Maybe next goal is top-40?,” said Jazz after his Indonesian Masters victory.

“It’s been a very fulfilling year so I am excited about what lies ahead in 2020 (with the defence of the SMBC Singapore Open title coming early in the year).”

Jazz made a fast start to 2019 by holding off challenges from Ryder Cup men Paul Casey and Matthew Fitzpatrick and the highly rated Yoshinori Fujimoto of Japan to win the SMBC Singapore Open in January.

He became the youngest winner of the Singapore Open and his 18-under-par 266 went into the record books as the tournament’s best ever four-round total.

“I got emotional, but happy emotional (at the victory). I was like ‘wow, I actually did it’. I could not believe that I beat Paul Casey down the stretch or Matthew Fitzpatrick who was in my group. It kind of boosted the confidence in me a little bit for sure,” he said.

“The last day at (SMBC Singapore Open) has got to be my (best) round (ever). I did not think I had a chance of winning – I was (111th) in the world and never had a big win before.

“It was definitely one of the best tournaments of my life, so far.”

After his win at Sentosa Golf Club, Jazz won the Kolon Korea Open in June followed by the Indonesian Masters.

His previous victories came at the Bangladesh Open in 2017 and the Queen’s Cup on home soil in 2018, successes that marked him down as a player to watch.

Jazz, who turned professional just ahead of his 15th birthday, topped the Asian Tour moneylist for 2019 with winnings of US$968,524 ahead of this week’s season-concluding Thailand Masters.

Also during an outstanding year, Jazz tied for 14th spot at the PGA Championship and had a string of top-10 finishes on the Asian and Japan Tours.

The SMBC Singapore Open is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation.

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