Thai stalwart Thammanoon Sriroj of Thailand lifted the Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship trophy after defeating local prospect Wang Wei-lun on the second play-off hole at the US$110,000 Asian Development Tour (ADT) event on Sunday.
The 46-year-old Thai hit a 15-yard chip shot from greenside and holed a three-foot par putt on the 18thgreen in the second extra hole to edge Wang, who settled for bogey after missing a 30-footer, at the picturesque National Golf and Country Club. Both of them bogeyed the first play-off hole on the par-four 18th hole.
Thammanoon walked away with the winner’s prize cheque of US$19,250 and moved up more than 40 rungs to 10th place on the Order of Merit. He also earned six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points courtesy of his maiden win on the region’s burgeoning Tour, which was inaugurated as a gateway to the Asian Tour in 2010.
It was a nerve-wracking victory for Thammanoon, who led by one shot after the 17th hole, as he three-putted for bogey on the last to close with a one-over-par 73 and tie Wang, who returned with a 71, on 12-under-par 276 total.
Local stalwart Lin Wen-tang, a former winner of the tournament in 2010 and 2014, battled to a 73 to settle two shots back in third place alongside Sean Riordan of New Zealand and Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai, who registered rounds of 68 and 71 respectively.
Malaysia’s Gavin Green took sixth place on 279 following a 75 while South African Mathiam Keyser settled a further shot back in seventh after carding a 74 at the Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship, which is celebrating its sixth edition this season.
With swirling wind speed reaching as high as 40kph during the day, Thammanoon stood tall amidst the gutsy conditions and overcame his nerves to seal the win.
“Conditions were really tough. I told myself to avoid making mistakes instead of focusing on making birdies. I putted really well. I got nervous heading into the last few holes but I tried to fight my way through, especially in the play-off. I am glad I managed to hang in there and get the job done,” said Thammanoon, a five-time Asian Tour winner but not since 2004.
Despite missing out on his first professional victory, Wang found consolation with his runner-up finish as it capped his best result since joining the play-for-pay ranks earlier in January.
“This is my best finish so far. I am definitely taking a lot of positives from this week. I lost my tempo and struggled a bit on the front nine but managed to get it back on the back. It was really difficult out there with the strong winds. Overall, it was a good experience for me,” said the 22-year-old Wang, who mixed his card with three birdies against two bogeys.
The ADT will continue to reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2016.
With the Olympic Games looming in 2016 where golf will be reintroduced as a medal sport, players in the region could earn their spots in Rio de Janeiro by earning Official World Golf Ranking points through the Asian Tour and ADT.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com
Leading final round scores
276 – Thammanoon SRIROJ (THA) 68 72 63 73, WANG Wei-lun (TWN) 67 71 67 71
278 – Sean RIORDAN (NZL) 70 71 69 68, Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA) 71 68 68 71, LIN Wen-tang (TWN) 68 68 69 73
279 – Gavin GREEN (MAS) 67 68 69 75
280 – Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 70 68 68 74
281 – Brett MUNSON (USA) 70 66 76 69, Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 68 71 71 71, TSAI Chi-huang (TWN) 71 66 70 74, LIU Yen-hung (TWN) 66 67 73 75
282 – Peradol PANYATHANASEDH (THA) 69 69 73 71, YEH Wei-tze (TWN) 66 74 69 73, LIN Chien-bing (TWN) 71 67 70 74
283 – HSIEH Chi-hsien (TWN) 66 68 76 73, Pasamet POGAMNERD (THA) 68 71 71 73
284 – LEE Chieh-po (TWN) 69 72 71 72, Panuwat MUENLEK (THA) 66 72 75 71, YANG Fei-hao (TWN) 70 69 70 75, WANG Tsung-chieh (TWN) 67 72 70 75, Gyeongjun LEE (KOR) 66 75 67 76