Smyth Savours ‘Amazing’ Winning Feeling

Travis Smyth shows off the winner’s trophy after securing his maiden Asian Tour success at the Yeangder TPC. Picture by Paul Lakatos/Asian Tour.

Linkou, Chinese Taipei: Australian Travis Smyth finally got the monkey off his back and won his maiden title on the Asian Tour when he recorded an impressive two-shot victory in the US$700,000 Yeangder TPC.

The 27-year-old Sydneysider drew on a season of strong performances and near misses to fire his second successive six-under-par 66 for a tournament total of 19-under at Linkou International Golf and Country Club.

Defending champion Lee Chieh-po from Chinese-Taipei finished runner-up after a closing 67. Chinese-Taipei’s Wang Wei-hsuan (67), Nicholas Fung from Malaysia (67), American Berry Henson (68), and Bjorn Hellgren from Sweden (69) tied for third, five behind the winner.

Smyth started the day with a one-shot lead and proved uncatchable after he birdied four out of the first six holes to make the turn in four-under before virtually wrapping things up by making three birdies in a row from the 10th. With a healthy lead, the surprise double-bogey he made on the 15th – his only dropped shots of the day – was not too damaging, particularly as he responded with his final birdie of the day on the next.

The victory made up for narrowly failing to win the International Series England in June where he was second – a result that earned him starts on the LIV Golf Invitational series.

“It feels amazing!” said Smyth, who picked up a cheque for US$126,000. “I felt like I let it go in England. To play some LIV events, feel what it’s like there … I just want to get back. I want to be the player that I believe I can be, and winning this week is one step along the journey.” 

On the 15th his ball plugged in a bunker after a big hook with his nine-iron. From there he splashed out and three-putted to make the closing stages slightly more interesting.

The 11th first-time winner this season and the first Australian to win the Yeangder, Smyth added: “The opening nine, or first five, six holes are quite easy, but it’s a tight course so you have to hit it straight. You’ve got to be below the hole, you’ve got to roll the putts in, and I just did exactly that. The guy I was playing with, Lee Chieh-po, he played amazing. He kept playing well and applying pressure, so it wasn’t easy, that’s for sure.” 

Smyth earned his place on the Asian Tour by finishing joint third at Qualifying School in 2018 and after a number of good results since then, a first victory had been expected soon.

For Lee it was his best finish on the Asian Tour. When he won last year the tournament was held solely as a domestic event – the result of travel restrictions caused by the global pandemic.

He said: “I did well today. Travis was just too good. I played well in tough conditions. And my overall 72-hole score is better than my winning score last year so there is some improvement! I am happy with how I played this week – and happy to set a new personal best result on the Asian Tour.”

For Henson, it was yet another good week in the Yeangder TPC, where he has recorded three top-10s in the past, including a joint fourth place finish a decade ago.

“I’m playing some great golf, I’ve played well all week,” said the American, who began with an eagle of the par-five first. “I love coming to Linkou. I always feel like this is a course I can win on after I figured out how to play it.”

The Asian Tour stays in Chinese-Taipei next week for the Mercuries Taiwan Masters, which will be played at Taiwan Golf and Country Club, from September 29 to October 2.

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