Pattaya, Thailand: Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang realised his dream of winning a maiden Asian Tour title after a final round three-under-par 67 saw him lift the King’s Cup presented by PTT Group.
Having already won five times on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), Chan knew a victory on the Asian Tour was long overdue and was ecstatic when he compiled a four-day total of 12-under 268 to win the US$750,000 event by two shots.
Compatriot Lin Wen-tang was also all smiles despite finishing second with a 66 at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club.
Thailand’s Danthai Boonma came close to retaining the King’s Cup on home soil but faltered after a closing 64 left him three shots back of Chan where he would finish in tied-third with England’s Mark Foster.
Victory was especially sweet for Chan as he became the second player from Chinese Taipei after Chan Yih-shin in 2009 to win the King’s Cup.
The 30-year-old also dashed the hopes of the local faithful as the King’s Cup will not be kept on home soil for the first time since 2009.
“It was a close battle all the way until the 16th when I knew I had a chance. Words cannot describe how I felt when I sank that last putt. It has always been my dream to win on the Asian Tour and I did it today,” said Chan.
Chan was aware that a win would not be a straight-forward affair, especially at the start of the day when he was battling neck-to-neck with England’s Eddie Pepperell.
It was only when Pepperell dropped five shots in his last four holes that Chan knew a victory was in sight.
“I was actually feeling very nervous when I started my round. I knew it would be a very close fight as there was little separating the leaders. I told myself to play my own game and not look at the leaderboard too much so that I’ll not feel so nervous.
“The greens are very challenging and it was important for me to get most of my shots onto the fairway. I did most of that today,” said Chan.
Lin, a six-time Asian Tour winner, came close to adding another title. But despite falling short, he remained sanguine about his game.
“If I was destined to win this week, I would be holding the trophy now. But that’s golf. It has been a great week and I cannot ask for more,” said Lin.
Danthai mounted a late charge that kept the home crowd on the edge of their seats. He stormed to the turn in 31 and added three more birdies in his first four holes on the back nine. However, he then ran out of steam and a bogey on 16 ended his hopes.