Chang Hwa, Chinese Taipei, July 27: Local sensation Chan Shih-chang survived a five-way play-off to win an unprecedented fourth Asian Development Tour (ADT) title at the US$160,000 Taifong Open on Sunday.
The 28-year-old Chan was the last man standing against overnight leader Hsieh Tung-shu of Chinese Taipei, Sung Mao-chang of Chinese Taipei, Thailand’s Suppakorn Uthaipat and Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines after they tied on four-under-par 212 in regulation play at the Taifong Golf Club.
The decisive play-off, which was played on the 18th hole, saw Sung, Suppakorn and Tabuena bow out in the first extra hole after making par while Chan and Hsieh birdied.
The duo then went the extra distance before Chan sealed the deal with a five-foot eagle putt on the fourth extra hole to defeat Hsieh, who birdied the same hole. They had earlier birdied the second and third play-off holes.
Chan, who won his first career title at the Taifong Open when it was a local event in 2010, overcame a seven-shot deficit with a flawless five-under-par 67 to win the richest ADT tournament in 2014. He earned US$28,000 to extend his lead on the ADT Order of Merit to US$56,816 and received six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points.
Chan, who wore his lucky polka-dotted shirt in the final round of the Taifong Open, was ecstatic with his third ADT victory which will likely cement his position inside the top-five on the Order of Merit and earn him a Tour card for 2015.
“I was still asking my caddie if I should wear my lucky shirt this morning as I was quite far off the lead but I’m glad I did,” Chan laughed.
“I was quite confident that I could eagle the last play-off hole. Coming from seven-shots back, I thought I’ve already done my best. The aim was to keep the trophy on home soil and I’m glad that I did it,” he added.
Having won three titles on the ADT and two on the local circuit so far this year, Chan admits that he felt the pressure of doing well on home soil.
“Honestly, it was quite stressful for me in the first two rounds. I was really hoping for an ADT win on home ground and this is a course where I’ve won before. I didn’t do as well in the first two rounds so I thought I should just take it easy in the final round. I’m glad I played better today,” said Chan.
Thailand’s Suppakorn Uthaipat, who traded six birdies against two bogeys, praised his playing partner Chan for his victory.
“Chan played very well. I felt very motivated to play well because of him. I’m very happy with my round. It doesn’t matter if I win or not. Hopefully I can continue the good form in the next tournament,” said the 24-year-old, who had notched two top-10s on the ADT so far this season.
The Taifong Open, which is the richest event on the Asian Development Tour to date, had earlier been reduced to 54-holes because of the adverse weather conditions caused by Typhoon Matmo on Wednesday. The tournament was rescheduled to start on Friday and was a three-day tournament.
This season, the ADT will reward the top five players on the final Order of Merit with playing rights for the 2015 Asian Tour season. Previously, only the top-three players were offered Asian Tour cards.
Leading third and final round scores:
212 – CHAN Shih-chang (TPE) 73-72-67, Suppakorn UTHAIPAT (THA) 71-73-68, SUNG Mao-chang (TPE) 73-68-71, Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 70-71-71, HSIEH Tung-shu (TPE) 72-66-74
213 – WANG Tsung-chieh (TPE) 72-73-68, CHOO Tze Huang (SIN) 68-72-73
214 – Wasin SRIPATTRANUSORN (THA) 74-72-68, LEE Chieh-po (A) (TPE) 70-74-70, Jay BAYRON (PHI) 73-69-72, Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 71-70-73, LIN Wen-tang (TPE) 75-66-73, Piya SWANGARUNPORN (THA) 71-69-74, Pijit PETCHKASEM (THA) 72-68-74
215 – HUNG Chun-kang (TPE) 75-70-70, Lindsay RENOLDS (CAN) 75-69-71, Jake STIRLING (AUS) 76-68-71, Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN) 73-70-72, Nils FLOREN (SWE) 71-72-72, YE Jian-feng (CHN) 72-70-73
Source: Asian Tour