Yangon, Myanmar: Shaun Norris kept his composure to shrug off the challenges of his closest rivals by carding a closing one-under-par 71 to win the US$750,000 Leopalace21 Myanmar Open.
A bundle of nerves on the front nine, the South African 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 Korean Park Jun-won after he signed off with a 68 at Myanmar’s richest sport event.
Korean Wang Jeung-hun closed with a 69 to finish in fourth place while Indian SSP Chawarasia and American Casey O’Toole share fifth spot on 270.
Despite holding a seven-shot advantage overnight, victory was not straightforward 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 just told myself to get back into the swing of things and get my rhythm back,” said Norris, who gave himself breathing space with birdies on 14 and 15.
Yano, who snared a career-first albatross during the third round, said that the 61 Norris returned on Saturday left the Japanese with a mountain to climb.
“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 has given me an early season boost.”