South Africa’s Shaun Norris kept his composure and shrugged off the challenges of his closest rivals by carding a one-under-par 71 to win the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open on Sunday.
The South African was a bundle of nerves in his front-nine but regained his advantage with a flawless inward-nine which helped clinch his second Asian Tour title by four shots at the Royal Mingalardon Golf and Country Club.
Japan’s Azuma Yano had to settle for second place with Korea’s Junwon Park after he signed off with a 68 at Myanmar’s richest sport event.
Korea’s Jeunghun Wang closed with a 69 to finish in fourth place while India’s S.S.P. Chawarasia and American Casey O’Toole share fifth place on matching 270 total.
Despite holding a seven-shot advantage overnight, victory was not straight forward for Norris as he went out in 38 with two birdies and four bogeys.
“The conditions were not easy from the start. When I stepped out of the hotel this morning, it was gusty.
“I knew scoring was not going to be easy. I tried to give myself chances early but I hit several bad shots in the wrong places. The wind really got me in the front-nine and confused me,” said Norris.
Norris saw his lead cut to three at the turn and it took a crucial birdie on the par-three 11 to finally turn his fortunes around.
“I knew there was a couple of short holes in the back-nine and at the end of the day, they still have to catch me. I just told myself to get back into the swing of things and get my rhythm back,” said Norris.
Norris then carded another pair of birdies on 14 and 15 to widen his lead and eventually seal victory.
Yano, who enjoyed a career-first albatross during the third round, conceded Norris superlative efforts yesterday left him with a mountain to climb and was satisfied with his tied-second finish with Park.
“Starting out, I knew that the seven shot gap was a gap too wide. So I was looking at second place, to be honest. It’s a very good result and it’s has given me an early season boost.
“I played well all week and have no regrets as this is a good event with a strong field from the Asian Tour,’ said the Japanese.
Wang meanwhile thought he could surmount a late challenge after starting out strongly with three birdies in his first five holes.
The Korean could not pile any further pressure on Norris as his birdie blitz ended with his fourth and last one coming only on the 14th hole.
“I thought I could give Shaun a run for his money especially at the turn. But I missed several birdie chances in my back-nine. I could only par the next four holes starting from 10.
“But when the next birdie came on 14, it was already too late as Shaun’s lead was already too wide,” said Wang.
Leading Scores after round 4 of the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open 2016 being played at the par 72, 7218 Yards Royal Mingalardon GcC course (am – denotes amateur):
264 – Shaun NORRIS (RSA) 66-66-61-71.
268 – Azuma YANO (JPN) 66-68-66-68, Junwon PARK (KOR) 73-64-63-68.
269 – Jeunghun WANG (KOR) 66-68-66-69.
270 – Casey O’TOOLE (USA) 71-69-63-67, S.S.P. CHAWRASIA (IND) 66-66-68-70.
272 – Soomin LEE (KOR) 71-66-68-67.
273 – Yuta IKEDA (JPN) 69-69-68-67, Yikeun CHANG (KOR) 69-65-71-68, Ryutaro NAGANO (JPN) 71-65-67-70, Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 68-68-67-70.
274 – Berry HENSON (USA) 70-68-68-68, Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 67-70-67-70, Danny CHIA (MAS) 65-70-68-71.
275 – Yusaku MIYAZATO (JPN) 68-70-69-68, Sam BRAZEL (AUS) 66-67-71-71, Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 68-70-66-71, Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 71-66-66-72.
276 – Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 69-67-71-69, Dodge KEMMER (USA) 68-70-68-70, Younghan SONG (KOR) 67-68-69-72, Kalem RICHARDSON (AUS) 69-67-67-73.
277 – Carlos PIGEM (ESP) 69-69-68-71, Keith HORNE (RSA) 72-63-69-73, Aaron TOWNSEND (AUS) 71-68-72-66.