Changhwa, Chinese Taipei: 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 US$160,000 Taifong Open.
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. The duo were tied on six-under-par 210 in regulation play at the Taifong Golf and Country Club.
The duo returned to the par-five 18th for the play-off battle where both of them shot matching pars on the first extra hole. At the next time of asking, Veerman holed a one-footer for birdie to pip Wang, whose 10-footer birdie effort 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 event, which was 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 began blowing so I had to stay patient. I was feeling the nerves but I had won in a play-off in the States before so I was just trying to bring back the good memories from that win,” said Veerman.
The young Texan rose 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.
“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 a great assurance for me,” added Veerman, who came through the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January.
It was another case of so near yet so far for Wang, who 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.