Taiwan’s Lin Wen-tang (林文堂) scrambled from the trees on his last two holes to set up an unlikely win at the Solaire Open and claim his sixth Asian Tour title yesterday.
The overnight leader came up with two remarkable shots on the 17th and 18th to pip Thai veteran Thammanoon Sriroj, who had snatched the lead earlier in the day, and Asian Tour rookie Richard Lee of Canada by one stroke.
Thammanoon’s title hopes were dented by bogeys on the 16th and 18th in a final round of one-over 73, while Lee signed off with a strong 69 for his best Asian Tour finish.
PHOTO: AFP / Paul Lakatos / Asian Tour
Trailing Thammanoon going into the 17th, Lin hit his tee shot into the woods, but he managed to punch the ball out and then sink his second birdie of the day.
Lin’s second shot on the 18th also found the trees, but he somehow worked the ball onto the green from there and holed a 15-foot par putt for the win.
The manner of victory revived memories of Lin’s 2008 Hong Kong Open victory, when he had to hit over the trees to stay alive in a playoff with Rory McIlroy.
“I felt like I was at the Hong Kong Open once again,” Lin said after winning the inaugural US$300,000 Asian Tour event with an overall three-under 285 at Manila’s Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.
“I think lady luck was really on my side to let me win this tournament. I told myself to stay focused and not think about anything else,” said the 39-year-old, who lost his Asian Tour card last season.
Five-time Asian Tour winner Thammanoon got an unlucky break on the final hole when he needed to hit his third shot onto the green from an awkward position.
“I was very unlucky because I hit quite a good second shot, but it landed on the edge of the slightly elevated green,” the Thai said.
“My legs were inside the bunker, but my ball was on the edge of the green. It wasn’t easy to chip it out,” the 43-year-old said.
South Korea’s Wang Jeung-hun (69) finished a stroke further back, while Elmer Salvador (74) was the best-placed Filipino in fifth at level-par 288.
Hsu Mong-nan (許孟男) finished the best-placed of the other Taiwanese players, tied for 10th after a 73 gave him a two-over 290 total, while Chan Yih-shin (詹益信) was a shot further back after a 71.
Chiang Chen-chih finished tied for 51st on 299, while Chan Shih-chang (詹世昌) was a shot further back tied for 56th.
Additional reporting by staff writer
ON THE LOOKOUT: A Lockheed EP-3 reconnaissance plane was yesterday seen flying southwest of Kaohsiung, according to Twitter account ‘Aircraft Spots’ A Twitter account that tracks military aircraft movements has indicated an increase in US military activity near Taiwan, coinciding with an increase in Chinese military activity in the area. Planes from the US Seventh Fleet have been sighted frequently above the South China Sea in the past several days, and a US Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane was seen flying close to Taiwanese airspace southwest of Kaohsiung yesterday, according to posts by the Twitter account Aircraft Spots. The EP-3 was seen circling above the same area, Aircraft Spots said, adding that other planes from the fleet were seen in the past few days
A Taipei resident who had breached his home quarantine order was found on Tuesday night in an Internet cafe and fined NT$1 million (US$32,976), Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said yesterday, as the Taipei City Government announced a short-term COVID-19 relief plan. Huang on Tuesday afternoon publicized the name of the man, Chen Tse (陳冊), who on Saturday last week returned from Beijing and was ordered to undergo 14-day home quarantine. However, city monitoring officials were unable to contact him by mobile phone or at his home. Chen was found by police at an Internet cafe on Nanyang Street, Huang said
ACCLIMATION: Chen Shih-chung said that only ‘soft’ policies have been carried out so far, but ‘hard’ measures would be implemented if the coronavirus situation worsens The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday recommended that indoor events of more than 100 people and outdoor events with more than 500 people should be canceled, as 19 new imported cases of COVID-19 were announced, bringing the total number in Taiwan to 235. “The center recommends that from now, indoor events of more than 100 people and outdoor events with more than 500 people should be suspended to reduce the risk of COVID-19 community transmission,” said Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), deputy head of the center. Event organizers should refer to six indicators listed in the response guidelines
US President Donald Trump on Thursday signed the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act of 2019 into law, before he talked with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) by telephone about the COVID-19 pandemic. The TAIPEI Act authorizes the US government to increase economic, diplomatic and security engagements with nations upgrading relations with Taiwan, or reduce such engagements with nations taking actions that seriously undermine Taiwan. The act calls on Washington to advocate for Taiwan’s membership, or observer status, in international organizations, while encouraging the US trade representative to further strengthen trade and economic relations with Taiwan. It is the second