Taiwan’s Chan Yih-shin recovered from the worst possible start and a dismal spell of form in recent months to grab his second Asian Tour title by three shots in the US$750,000 Macau Open yesterday.
Chan’s tee shot went out of bounds for a double-bogey on the first hole, but he rallied with a massive chip-in birdie from 40 feet on 12, before closing with two-under 69 in blustery conditions at the Macau Golf and Country Club.
He ended his campaign with a winning total of 14-under 270 and pocketed the winner’s check of US$118,875 in Asia’s casino hub.
David Gleeson of Australia and Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant, both former Macau Open champions, shot matching 66s to finish in second and third place respectively for their first top 10 finishes on the Asian Tour this year.
Chan’s victory ended a poor run of form where he has had no top 10 finishes since October last year.
“I didn’t know what to think after my double-bogey, but I kept telling myself to calm down,” said Chan, 34, winner of the 2009 King’s Cup in Thailand. “The pressure was there in the first nine and I felt better only after my chip-in birdie. I didn’t putt very well in the beginning of the year and that was why I didn’t get a good result. This whole week was the best that I’ve putted and I’m glad to be able to come out victorious.”
His nervy start saw the lead change hands between him and Mo Joong-kyung of South Korea on several occasions. He was trailing Mo by one shot after the turn, but produced a magical run starting from his birdie on 12, before adding crucial birdies on 13, 14 and 16 to cruise home with a wire-to-wire victory as Mo faded.
Mo signed off tied for fourth place after a round of 72 with Zaw Moe of Myanmar and Asian Tour honorary member Jeev Milkha Singh of India, who closed on identical 69s.
Taiwan’s Wand Ter-chang recorded a final-round 70 to finish tied for seventh spot on seven-under 277. Lin Wen-hong finished tied for 31st, Chan Shih-chang was tied for 39th, Hsu Mong-nan was tied for 47th and Lin Chie-hsiang finished tied for 58th place.
Gleeson eagled the last hole to complete a superb week, where he ended a run of five consecutive missed cuts on the Asian Tour. The Australian credited a new set of golf clubs for his return to form.
“I was just not comfortable with all my clubs in the last two years. I thought I was getting weaker, but it was actually because I had the wrong shafts on my clubs,” said the two-time Asian Tour winner. “That’s a technical issue and once I felt comfortable with my swing, then my game came back to me again.”
Additional reporting by staff writer