China’s Liang wen-chong returns to familiar winning ground, hoping his run at the Resorts World Manila Masters will come full circle when the richest tournament in the Philippines tees off on Thursday.
Liang, the inaugural Resorts World Manila Masters winner, along with three other past champions- Mardan Mamat (2014), Natipong Srithong (2015) and S.S.P. Chawrasia (2016) are all looking forward to rekindle their past love affairs with the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club where the US$1 million event will be staged this week.
The Resorts World Manila Masters celebrated worthy winners in Liang, who claimed a thrilling play-off triumph over Thailand’s Prom Meesawat in 2013 and Chawrasia, who celebrated his first victory abroad last year.
In between those two victories, Mardan marched to a commanding six-shot win in 2014 while Natipong defied all odds by winning the 2015 edition shortly after turning professional.
On the home front, Filipino legend Frankie Minoza will spearhead the local challenge alongside 2011 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Juvic Pagunsan, one-time winner Miguel Tabuena and Antonio Lascuna.
Other sponsors of the Resorts World Manila Masters Presented by Philippine Department of Tourism include Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club (Host venue), Marriott (Hotel Partner) Konami, Scientific Games, Aristocrat, Levelwear, IGT Asia Pte Ldt, Empire Automation, VYCON RGD LTD, PLDT Enterprise, Ecco Golf and Dalmore.
Did you know?
- Liang Wen-chong’s victory came from a play-off triumph over Thailand’s Prom Meesawat at the first play-off hole.
- The Chinese’s win was made more significant as he decided to donate half of his total winnings to victims suffering from the aftermath of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan then.
- Liang is the first mainland Chinese to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2007.
- Mardan Mamat was on the verge of retiring from the sport until he ended a-then two-year title drought by romping to a commanding six-shot victory at the Resorts World Manila Masters in 2014.
- That victory was Mardan’s fourth Asian Tour success and second in the Philippines then. He has since gone on to win his fifth Asian Tour title in Bangladesh in 2015.
- Mardan’s six-shot win remains the largest margin of victory at the Resorts World Manila Masters so far. His winning score of 20-under-par 268 was also the lowest in the last four editions.
- Mardan won on home soil last week, just barely three days after turning 50.
- Natipong’s victory at the 2015 Resorts World Manila Masters came just two months after he turned professional.
- He had earlier won the individual and team gold medals at the Southeast Asian Games that year
- Natipong was playing on a sponsor’s invitation and he overcame a four-shot deficit to lift his maiden Asian Tour title. Natipong’s victory was achieved in what was only his fourth start as a professional golfer.
- S.S.P. Chawrasia lifted his first Asian Tour title abroad after prevailing at the second play-off hole to win the Resorts World Manila Masters in 2016.
- The Indian is currently in fourth place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit and is aiming to become the first player to defend his title twice on the Asian Tour this season. He successfully defended his Hero Indian Open title in March.
- No local Filipino has won the Resorts World Manila Masters since it was inaugurated in 2013.
Liang Wen-chong (Chn)
I’m really happy to be back for the Resorts World Manila Masters because this event holds many fond memories for me. That win in 2013 was special as Manila holds a special place in my heart. This event has played an integral role in transforming tourism in the country and has changed the golfing landscape here. It has raised the profile of the Asian Tour in the Philippines and given players playing opportunities which we greatly appreciate. My form has been good this year. I won in Japan and had a couple of good finishes which I can be proud of. It’ll be nice to win again and I’ll try my best.
Mardan Mamat (Sgp)
It’s always nice to be back to a place where you’ve won before. I like this course a lot as it suits my eye and game. I feel like I’m starting to regain my form. I won a local event back home in Singapore recently and that that helps with the confidence. I’m not getting younger and the next stage in my career would be to play on the Seniors Tour. But before that, I would obviously like to win again.
Natipong Srithong (Tha)
This is my third year playing on the Asian Tour and it seems so long now already. But whenever I look back at my first year on Tour and knowing that I won my first event in my rookie year, I’m always very happy. My form is good and I feel I just need to sharpen my short game. If I can do that, I’ve a chance this week.
S.S.P. Chawrasia (Ind)
I’m excited to be back. Obviously last year’s win was my first outside India and it is very meaningful. That win showed that I have what it takes to compete globally and not only in India. I was in contention at this event on several occasions before my victory last year. So to be able to win it and outside of India is indeed very special. The golf course is in great shape. I’m playing well and my confidence is high. I won another event in India earlier this year and it’ll be fantastic to get another win here before the year comes to a close. I finished second at home in India just last week so my form is definitely good.