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Friday, December 1, 2023
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HomeGolfChampions Tour (CHAMP)CHAMP News: Thongchai Jaidee wins in four-hole playoff at Pebble Beach

CHAMP News: Thongchai Jaidee wins in four-hole playoff at Pebble Beach


Thongchai Jaidee defeated Justin Leonard in four playoff holes to win the Pure Insurance Championship on Sunday in Monterey Peninsula, Calif.

Jaidee earned his second career PGA Tour Champions victory, and first of the year, at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

“I would say this is a special week for me,” Jaidee said. “Golf is looking week by week. I think this week is special because we play the links, the signature. You know, we’ve known about Pebble Beach for a long time. And then enjoy to be here … Absolutely the golf course condition is super. Everything make everything happy, you know. The weather is fantastic here. I enjoy. The most important thing here: enjoy it.”

The two golfers played even through three rounds at 14-under 202, with Jaidee (5-under 67 Sunday) making up a one-stroke deficit coming into the day to take the lead going into the final hole. It was there, on the par-5 18th, that Leonard sank a birdie to force the playoff.

On the first playoff hole (No. 18), Leonard found himself in the fairway bunker on his third shot, but he recovered to make par, card a 4-under 68 and force a second playoff hole.

Again on No. 18, both golfers had few problems the second time around, each recording a birdie to extend the playoff.

The third playoff hole, the par-3 17th, produced another stalemate, with Jaidee rescuing himself from the greenside bunker to save par.

The golfers returned to the 18th for the fourth playoff hole, where things quickly went awry for Leonard.

He incurred a penalty after losing his drive in the rough near the water on the left, sending him back to the tee box for his third scored shot and putting him too far behind to manage anything better than a double bogey.

Jaidee, steady throughout the day, was once again even-keeled when it mattered, calmly nailing his approach and then sinking par to claim the championship.

A native of Thailand, Jaidee, 53, had previously won the American Family Insurance Championship in 2022.

“I think it’s personal for me, this one I’m very proud in myself and my country,” Jaidee said. “I mean, being the fact here (I’m) only one guy to play on tour, that’s why I’m very proud of myself and my country to be here. I enjoy this tournament, that’s why I’d love to be here next year. I think very, very nice, … especially the weather, unbelievable.”

Looking for his first Champions win, Leonard held the overall lead (by one stroke over Jaidee) going into the final round.

The 51-year-old was competing in his 19th Champions event after a PGA Tour career that saw him win 12 times, including a major title at the 1997 Open Championship.

Arjun Atwal of India (3-under 69) finished alone in third place three strokes back after shooting 11 under for the tournament.

Paul Stankowski shot a 2-under 70 to finish a stroke behind Atwal.

Two golfers, Y.E. Yang of South Korea (70) and Steven Alker of New Zealand (70) finished tied for fifth at 9 under.

Stewart Cink scored an impressive 5-under 67 to force a three-way tie for seventh. Also finishing at 8 under were Jerry Kelly (68) and Fiji’s Vijay Singh (70).

Brian Gay (70) rounded out the top 10 at 7 under.

–Field Level Media

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