Monday, December 3, 2007

New putter helps Saltus clinch Cambodian Open

SIEM REAP: American golfer Bryan Saltus secured his maiden Asian Tour title at the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open after a solid five-under 67 in the final round yesterday.

Saltus reaped the rewards of his new putter, firing six birdies against a lone bogey for a winning total of 17-under 271 at the Phokeethra Country Club.

The 36-year-old champion walked away with the top prize of US$47,550 and rose to 30th place on the Asian Tour's UBS Order of Merit.

“This is awesome. I would like to dedicate this win to Grateful Dead as they have inspired me all the way. Siem Reap is right up my alley so I've enjoyed my time on and off the course this week,” said Saltus, who is an avid Grateful Dead fan, having been to 153 concerts.

Overnight leader Adam Groom of Australia posted a 71 to claim lone second spot as he finished three strokes behind the winner.

The Thai duo of Thaworn Wiratchant and Prom Meesawat recorded matching 70s to claim joint third position after a 277 total.

Thanks to a new putter that he picked up this week, Saltus got off to a flying start, chalking up three birdies in his first three holes. He extended his lead with a birdie on the 10th and ended his captivating run with a final birdie on the 17th hole.

“My putting has been the winning formula this week. It's also nice to be one stroke off the lead coming into the final round as all eyes would be on the leader and not me,” he said.

“I told my caddie (Phal Savern) that if I win, I would buy her a motorbike and now that I've done it, I will get her a brand new motorbike,” said the Californian-based golfer, who has been playing on the Asian Tour since 2004.

Malaysia's Danny Chia posted a 67 for his best finish this season in joint fifth spot alongside Korea's Kang Ji-man, who shot a 66. – AFP

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