|John Michael poses with the Clearwater Masters trophy after his first professional victory. Photo courtesy of ©Arep Kulal|PGM|
2014 Greystone Invitational Champion John Michael O'Toole notched his first professional win today with a two-shot victory at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Clearwater Masters on Saturday.
John Michael turned professional in the fall of 2015 and this was only his fourth event since joining the Asian Development Tour. O’Toole earned the winner’s prize purse of US$8,482 and received six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points courtesy of his victory.
“This is my first win since turning professional in 2015. I am really thankful. I fought well the whole week and I have been talking to my mentor Iain Steel (former ADT winner) every night. He has given me a lot of good advice and I really appreciate that. I just focused on every shot and never give up till I reach the finishing line,” said an elated O’Toole, who is the cousin of reigning ADT Order of Merit winner Casey.
The 22-year-old O’Toole, who held a four-shot lead heading into the all-important final round, compiled a winning total of 15-under-par 269 at the Clearwater Sanctuary Golf Resort, becoming the second American to win on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) this season.
His playing partner Poom Saksansin of Thailand signed off with a 68 to take second place while R. Nachimuthu, who also closed with a 68, emerged as the highest-ranked Malaysian in third place on 272 at the RM200,000 (approximately US$46,600) ADT event.
Thailand’s Sattaya Supupramai settled a further shot back in fourth following a 69 while compatriot Namchok Tantipokhakul posted a superb 65 to share fifth place with Filipino Jay Bayron (68) on 274.
Leading final round results (Par-71):
Malaysian unless stated
269 – John Michael O’Toole (USA) 68-66-65-70
271 – Poom Saksansin (THA) 67-71-65-68
272 – Nachimuthu Ramasamy 68-69-67-68
273 – Sattaya Supuramai (THA) 69-69-66-69
274 – Namchok Tantipokhakul (THA) 71-72-66-65, Jay Bayron (PHI) 69-72-65-68
275 – Natthapong Niyomchon (THA) 68-70-70-67, Ekthumrong Luanganuruk (THA) 67-68-68-72
278 – Sorachut Hansapiban (THA) 73-67-71-67, Gavin Kyle Green 71-68-69-70
279 – Quincy Quek (SIN) 71-68-69-71, Shaaban Hussin 69-67-71-72
A look at O’Toole's final round scorecard showed a roller-coaster front nine where he opened with a birdie-bogey and added a birdie on fourth before stumbling with a triple-bogey on the par-four sixth.
He recovered strongly with two straight birdies starting from seventh to turn in 35 and went on to cap two birdies against a bogey on his way home to secure his breakthrough win.
“I hit a bad drive on sixth. It went left into the trees. I hit my second shot into the bunker and missed a six-footer to settle for triple on that hole. That’s probably my one and only bad drive this week! I have been hitting it well. I guess I was just mentally strong enough to not let that hole affect the remaining of my round. It has been a great week here,” added O’Toole.
Poom, who marked his card with five birdies against two bogeys, was left to rue a missed chance on his second ADT win but kept up his confidence that his win will come soon if he stays consistent in his game.
“Overall, I played alright. I thought I had the chance to pile some pressure on O’Toole but my three-wood was just not performing well today. I am still happy with how I played all week. I am glad to have given myself a chance to fight for the title. The game’s feeling good and hopefully my second win will come soon,” said the 22-year-old Thai.