With 1st victory, Karmis assures place to play

Peter Karmis of South Africa claimed victory at Handa Singapore Classic on Sept. 12, 2010.

Peter Karmis of South Africa claimed victory at Handa Singapore Classic on Sept. 12, 2010.

SINGAPORE – Peter Karmis of South Africa completed a wire-to-wire victory to claim his maiden Asian Tour title at the Handa Singapore Classic on Sunday.

Karmis posted a 1-under 71 for a four-day total of 21-under 267 to defeat compatriot Jbe Kruger by two strokes at the Orchid Country Club.

LEADING FINAL-ROUND SCORES

267 - Peter Karmis (RSA) 63-63-70-71

269 - Jbe Kruger (RSA) 66-66-68-69

270 - Pariya Junhasavasdikul (THA) 66-68-68-68

272 - Scott Hend (AUS) 67-71-67-67

273 - Chan Yih-shin (TPE) 65-67-68-73, Mardan Mamat (SIN) 65-69-69-70, Young Nam (KOR) 70-69-65-69

274 - Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 67-65-70-72, Lu Wei-chih (TPE) 69-66-67-72, Kim Felton (AUS) 65-67-72-70, SSP Chowrasia (IND) 68-65-71-70, Hirotaro Naito (JPN) 65-71-68-70, Unho Park (AUS) 67-69-69-69, Gavin Flint (AUS) 68-68-69-69, Anirban Lahiri (IND) 69-66-73-66, Corey Harris (USA) 67-71-70-66, Danny Chia (MAS) 69-71-68-66

275 - Choi Jin-Ho (KOR) 67-69-66-73, Matthew Rosenfeld (USA) 67-68-68-72, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 68-67-69-71

Kruger was tied for the lead after 10 holes but fell behind after bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14. It was Kruger’s second runner-up finish this season as he closed with a 69 for a 269 total at the US $400,000 event.

Thai Pariya Junhasavasdikul (68) signed off with a 270 total to finish third, his best placing this season, while Australian Scott Hend (67) was two strokes further back at 272.

Mardan Mamat (70) was the best local performer, finishing T-5 with Taiwan’s Chan Yih-shin (73) and South Korea’s Young Nam (69) at 273.

“The first thing that comes into my mind is all the privileges that come from winning on the Asian Tour,” Karmis said. “The rest of my year is pretty much sorted out – and next year. It has suddenly changed from wondering if I could get into tournaments to getting into all the tournaments.”

Karmis, who earned his tour card at the qualifying school in Thailand this year, got off to a slow start, making the turn at even par and carding a bogey on the 10th hole. But birdies on 11, 15 and 17 changed his fortunes.

“I actually hit good iron shots on the front nine, but they just went long and I missed a couple of short putts,” said Karmis, who won US $63,400.

The South African tipped his hat to his resilient compatriot. “Jbe (Kruger) is a great player, and he is such a fighter and never gives up – ever,” Karmis said. “When I bogeyed the 10th hole, it was like a wake-up call because I slipped back to tie for the lead. I had to remain focused, and I’m glad I came out on top.”

Kruger, who lost in a playoff to Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh at the Brunei Open in August, was gracious in defeat. “I could have shot more birdies on the front nine but failed to convert my chances,” he said. “I feel I’m getting closer to victory, and overall I’m happy with my performance and happy that Peter (Karmis) won.”

Pariya posted a near-flawless round highlighted by four birdies and was fortunate not to drop a shot on the 15th hole when his tee shot found water. He recovered with a 15-foot putt, and later claimed his best finish on the Asian Tour.

Playing for the sixth straight week, Mardan surged up the leaderboard after making the turn with a 3-under 34 but failed to maintain the pace with two closing bogeys.

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