Harrison Crowe produced a masterful back nine to edge out China’s Bo Jin by one shot to claim the 2022 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Thailand today.
Crowe becomes the third Australian player to win the AAC trophy and will have the opportunity to defend his title when the championship returns to Royal Melbourne next year.
At Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi on Saturday, Crowe, ranked No. 43 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, was three shots behind Jin when he made the turn at three-over par. However, four birdies in five holes on the back nine and a heroic up and down for par from the back of the 18th hole helped him to a level-par 72 and a one-shot victory.
Japan’s Ryuta Suzuki (73) and Crowe’s compatriot, Jeff Guan (69), were tied for the third place at nine under par.
Pongsapak Laopakdee (72) was the leading Thai player, tied fifth at eight under par. Three Japanese players – Masato Sumiuchi (69), Leo Oyo (70), Minato Oshima (70) – as well as Philippines’ Carl Corpus (68) and Korea’s Minhyuk Song (75) joined Laopakdee at tied fifth.
Crowe's Delight at Resolve
“I certainly had to dig deep. At the turn, I kind of told my dad and his mate, that I just needed one to go in, just one to drop, and from there, I backed myself to keep it going. I had not had a birdie all day, and the one on 11th got my momentum going forward,” said Crowe, who turned 21 on October 15.
Jin (71) started the day two behind Crowe but caught up early with an approach to tap-in distance for a birdie on the first hole as the Australian slipped to an opening bogey.
Jin looked to be in a strong position after a spectacular eagle from the bunker at the back of the par-4 12th hole but Crowe holed out for a birdie to stay three behind.
The Sydneysider pulled level when he made his fourth birdie in five holes on the par-5 15th hole.
Crowe missed the 16th green with his approach which cost him a dropped shot and a share of the lead.
The iconic par-3 17th with its island green proved to be crucial in deciding the outcome of the championship. Jin’s tee shot to the 129-yard hole came up short in the water and he could only manage a double-bogey five.
Crowe enjoyed a one-shot lead on the 18th tee but there was more drama to come when, after a perfect tee shot that left him with a 181-yard approach, Crowe pulled his second shot and almost found the water. His ball stayed dry and he made a difficult up-and-down for his all-important par.
“I think it was going to go in the water. I pulled it, but I flushed it. So, I thought I had plenty on, but I was just hoping that it just caught a bit of grass,” Crowe added.
The victory means Crowe receives invitations to the 2023 Masters and The 151st Open.
“It means so much. I played a lot of really good golf early in the season, but towards the middle of the year when I travelled overseas, I didn’t play very good golf at all. So, I came out here this week with something to prove, and I’m just really proud of myself the way I handled myself on and off the course,” said Crowe.
Jin, who was hoping to add another AAC trophy to his family cabinet alongside the one won by his brother Cheng in 2015, managed to retain his smile after the disappointing finish.
“This is not the position I wanted to be in but I am very proud of the way I played this whole week. You just can’t take anything away from Crowe and the way he played the back nine,” said Jin, who finished tied-eighth in 2019 and tied-third last year in Dubai.
“I have got another year in the college so if they invite me back, I am definitely coming to Melbourne next year and try this all over again. Hopefully, I will finish one position better.”
Sarut Vongchaisit of Thailand made the first albatross in the history of the AAC when he holed his second shot from 250 yards on the 584-yard, par-5 second hole.
“I had 250 yards second shot to the hole and it was a perfect hybrid club and wind right‑to‑left and with a perfect angle to hit to that pin. I didn’t know it went in. I thought it could be long. I didn’t know I made it until I actually saw the ball in the hole. I was kind of shocked,” said Vongchaisit, who closed with a two-under par 70.
Local hero Ratchanon ‘TK’ Chantananuwat, the highest-ranked player in the field, mounted a serious charge when he made six birdies in eight holes around the turn but closed with two bogeys and a double bogey for a round of 71.
Created in 2009, the AAC was established to further develop amateur golf in the Asia-Pacific region. The champion will receive an invitation to compete in the 2023 Masters Tournament and The 151st Open, while the runner(s)-up will gain a place in Final Qualifying for The Open.