Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang realised his dream of winning his first Asian Tour title after a final round three-under-par 67 saw him lift the King’s Cup last Sunday.
Having already won five times on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), Chan knew a victory on the Asian Tour was long overdue and was clearly ecstatic when he compiled a four-day total of 12-under-par 268 to win the US$750,000 event by two shots.
Compatriot Lin Wen-tang was also all smiles despite finishing second with a 66 at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club.
Thailand’s Danthai Boonma came close to retaining the King’s Cup on home soil but faltered after a closing 64 left him three shots back of Chan where he would finish tied-third with England’s Mark Foster.
Victory was especially sweet for Chan as he became the second player from Chinese Taipei after Chan Yih-shin in 2009 to win the King’s Cup.
The 30-year-old also dashed the hopes of the local faithful as the King’s Cup will not be kept on home soil for the first time since 2009.
“It was a close battle all the way until the 16th when I knew I had a chance. Words cannot describe how I felt when I sank that last putt. It has always been my dream to win on the Asian Tour and I did it today,” said Chan.
Chan was aware that a win would not be a straight-forward affair especially at the start of the day when he was battling neck-to-neck with England’s Eddie Pepperell.
It was only when Pepperell dropped five shots in his last four holes that Chan knew a victory was in sight.
“I was actually feeling very nervous when I started my round. I knew it would be a very close fight as there was little separating the leaders at the start of the day. I told myself to play my own game and not look at the leaderboard too much so that I’ll not feel so nervous.
“The greens were very challenging this week and it was important for me to get most of my shots onto the fairway. I did most of that today,” said Chan.
Lin, a six-time Asian Tour winner, came close to adding another title. But despite falling short, he remained sanguine about his game.
“If I was destined to win this week, I would be holding the trophy now. But that’s golf. It has been a great week and I cannot ask for more,” said Lin.
“I thought I had a good chance coming in as I was really hitting the ball very well. But it’s okay, there will be another time for me again,” he added.
Danthai surmounted a late charge that kept the home crowd on the edge of their seats. He stormed towards the turn with a 31 and continued his birdie blitz with three birdies in his next four holes after the turn. However he ran out of steam after that and a bogey on 16 dented all hopes of another local winner.
“I’m very pleased with how I played today although I felt let down by those two bogeys on five and 16. When I eagled six, I felt like my game was back on track and I was ready for the charge.
“I did that right until 13. I could not find any more birdies after that and that bogey on 16 all but left me out of the running for the title,” said Danthai.
(Source: Asian Tour media)