American Johannes Veerman captured his maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) title after defeating local hope Wang Wei-lun on the second play-off hole at the weather-shortened Taifong Open on Sunday.
The 24-year-old Texan overcame a two-shot deficit to sign for a third consecutive two-under-par 70 and force a play-off with Wang after the duo were tied on six-under-par 210 total in regulation play at the Taifong Golf and Country Club.
The duo returned to the par-five 18 for the play-off battle where both of them shot matching pars on the first extra hole before Veerman sank a one-footer to outplay Wang, who settled for par after his 10-footer birdie putt lipped out.
Asian Tour stalwart Lu Wei-chih of Chinese Taipei posted a flawless 69 to finish one shot back in third place with countryman Lin Wen-tang, who battled to a 70, in the US$160,000 ADT event, which had earlier been reduced to 54-holes after the second round was delayed due to Typhoon Nepartak.
Overnight leader Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand returned with a disappointing 74 to share fifth place on 212 with compatriots Nirun Sae-ueng (71), Rattanon Wannasrichan (73) and Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang (69) in what is the richest event on the ADT schedule this season.
Born to an Indonesian mother and an American father, who was on his bag this week, Veerman was ecstatic to make his mark in Asia, where he had previously lived for 14 years in Philippines, Thailand, China and Indonesia.
“It was pretty calm when I started but the wind starting blowing so I had to stay patient out there. I was feeling the nerves but I had won in a play-off back in the States before so I was just trying to bring back the good memories from that win. I am glad to claim my second professional win in a play-off too,” said Veerman.
The young Texan propelled to second place on the ADT Order of Merit after taking home his career’s biggest pay cheque of US$28,000. He also received six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points following his victory.
“There are a lot of talented players out here. To win the tournament means a lot to me. I have been playing great so far this season. Golf is a long and hard road. You need to keep playing well to stay up there but this win is definitely a great assurance for me,” added Veerman, who came through the Asian Tour Qualifying School earlier in January.
It was another case of so near yet so far for Wang, who had previously lost in a play-off to Thailand’s Thammanoon Sriroj on the ADT in Chinese Taipei last season.
“It’s my second time losing in a play-off. I can’t help but feel disappointed as I have tried my best. I lost the last play-off because I played badly but this time, I played well. I will learn from this experience and hopefully my chance will come again soon,” said the 22-year-old Wang, who turned professional last January.
Lu, a three-time Asian Tour winner, sang his praises for Wang. “This kid has got a lot of potential. After playing with him today, I feel he has a good mental game. Most of the other young players just hit the ball without thinking much. But Wang takes about five seconds to think where and how he wants to hit the ball. I am pretty impressed.”
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com
Leading third and final round scores:
210 – Johannes VEERMAN (USA) 70 70 70, WANG Wei-lun (TWN) 71 71 68
211 – LU Wei-chih (TWN) 71 71 69, LIN Wen-tang (TWN) 69 72 70
212 – CHAN Shih-chang (TWN) 70 73 69, Nirun SAE-UENG (THA) 69 72 71, Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 68 71 73, Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 70 68 74
213 – Mithun PERERA (SRI) 72 70 71, Chikkarangappa S. (IND) 70 71 72, TSENG Hong-sheng (TWN) 67 74 72, LEE Chieh-po (TWN) 70 70 73, Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 73 73 67
214 – Nick SHERWOOD (USA) 69 75 70, HSU Hao-sheng (TWN) 72 71 71, Danny MASRIN (INA) 67 76 71, Gavin GREEN (MAS) 72 71 71, HUANG Hsiang-hao (TWN) 72 70 72, Jose ROLZ (GTM) 75 71 68
215 – LEE Cho-chuan (TWN) 74 70 71, K P LIN (TWN) 69 74 72, KOH Deng Shan (SIN) 70 75 70, Shubhankar SHARMA (IND) 72 71 72, Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 69 73 73, HSU Li-peng (TWN) 70 72 73