Malaysia’s Danny Chia held his nerves to end a 13-year title drought when he closed with a second consecutive one-over-par 73 to win by two shots for his second Asian Tour victory at the US$650,000 Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Sunday.
Starting the round with a one-shot deficit, Chia fired three birdies in his opening five holes to take over the lead and remained in top spot till he sealed the deal with a tap-in par save on the 18th hole for a winning total of three-under-par 285 at the challenging Taiwan Golf and Country Club’s Tamsui course.
Overnight leader Liang Wen-chong of China settled for second place after closing with three straight bogeys for a disappointing 76 while Adilson Da Silva of Brazil and India’s Rashid Khan shared third on 289 after returning with rounds of 72 and 76 respectively.
Young talent Hung Chien-yao emerged as the highest-placed local player when he carded a third straight 72 to finish a further shot back in fifth place with Singapore-based Australian Unho Park, who returned with a 70.
Chia, who last won on the Asian Tour in 2002, also in Chinese Taipei, said he was trying to overcome his nerves which started to creep in when he made his first bogey of the day on par-four 11th hole. He went on to drop another three shots on 15th, 16th and 17th.
“I was really nervous heading into the last five holes. I told myself not to think too much but I just can’t help it. I thought my hands were shaking but I am actually shaking inside my heart. I started to feel nervous when I first bogeyed the 11. I got me a little flustered on the back nine,” said the 42-year-old Malaysian.
“It’s been a long while, really. I couldn’t sleep last night actually. I thought of my win 13 years ago. This win is a great boost of confidence for me, especially having stayed away from competitive golf for close to one year after my neck surgery in 2013. I am glad I held up my mental game this week.
“I don’t feel confident every time I come to play on this golf course. It’s still the same even after I won. I felt like I’ve only won Liang, but not the golf course. Having said that, it’s always nice coming to Chinese Taipei, probably because I’ve won here before. I always have a lot of friends here and they made me feel at home every time,” added Chia, highest ranked Malaysian in the world.
Despite having to rue a missed opportunity for a fourth Asian Tour victory, Liang held his head high and tipped his hat to Chia for his perseverance.
“Even though Danny got off to a strong start, I didn’t panicked because I know anything can happen as long as the round is still going on. It was hard to read the greens and surely a disappointing end to the round but I still enjoyed my game out there. Danny played really good. He has persevered for so long. I think he really deserves the win,” said the 37-year-old Liang.
“It’s been an enjoyable week for me, being here in Tamsui for the first time. I felt very warm and my friends made me feel at home. This finish will put me in good shape for the string of events coming up. Hopefully a win will come soon,” added Liang, who mixed his card with six birdies against two birdies.
Khan lamented a disappointing performance but took pride in his tied-third place result in what was his first attempt at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters.
“I didn’t putt well again today. I was just grinding out there and trying to hang in there throughout the round. It’s been a learning week for me and although I didn’t finish well, I’m still happy with a tied-third place finish and looking forward to the next few tournament coming up,” said the 24-year-old India.
Chia took home a winner’s prize purse of US$130,000 courtesy of his victory and propelled to eighth position on the Asian Tour Order of Merit with a season’s haul of US$188,138.
Scores after round 4 of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters 2015 being played at the par 72, 6923 Yards Tamsui Course course (am – denotes amateur):
285 – Danny CHIA (MAS) 67-72-73-73.
287 – LIANG Wen-chong (CHN) 70-73-68-76.
289 – Adilson DA SILVA (BRA) 75-69-73-72, Rashid KHAN (IND) 68-70-75-76.
290 – Unho PARK (AUS) 75-69-76-70, HUNG Chien-yao (TPE) 74-72-72-72.
291 – Javi COLOMO (ESP) 75-74-73-69, LIN Wen-tang (TPE) 75-69-77-70, Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 73-73-74-71, Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) 69-74-75-73, SUNG Mao-chang (TPE) 73-77-68-73.
292 – PAN Cheng-tsung (TPE) 71-72-76-73, Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 72-71-72-77.
293 – Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 74-76-72-71, Boonchu RUANGKIT (THA) 71-77-71-74.
294 – HSU Hao-sheng (TPE) 76-74-71-73, LU Wei-chih (TPE) 75-70-75-74, YEH Wei-tze (TPE) 71-73-73-77, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 75-71-71-77.
295 – Sam BRAZEL (AUS) 73-73-76-73, LIU Wei-hou (TPE) 73-73-75-74, Himmat RAI (IND) 73-75-73-74.
296 – CHAN Shih-chang (TPE) 75-74-74-73, Jake STIRLING (AUS) 74-76-73-73, Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 76-72-74-74, LU Wen-teh (TPE) 76-73-73-74.
297 – Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 75-73-77-72, Chikka S. (IND) 72-76-77-72.