ASIAN GOLF INDUSTRY FEDERATION

Play-Off Success for Home Favourite Chan

Chan Shih-chang is congratulated on his victory by George Wong, Chairman of the Mercuries Group.

Tamsui, Chinese Taipei: Chan Shih-chang claimed the US$1 million Mercuries Taiwan Masters, finally winning an Asian Tour event on home soil for the first time, but only after a titanic battle with Indian Rashid Khan.

The Chinese-Taipei star beat Khan on the second hole of a sudden-death play-off at Taiwan Golf and Country Club. It was an incredible comeback from Chan who was three shots behind Khan with five holes of the final round to play, but then made birdie three times on the par-four 18th.

A nine-foot birdie putt saw him secure the title, after Khan had missed his birdie attempt from 20 feet. At the first extra hole, Chan holed a 21-footer for birdie, before Khan made his from two feet.

Chan forced the play-off when he holed a nine-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole, while Khan agonisingly missed his birdie chance from six feet. 

Both players carded closing four-under-par 68s to finish on 15-under and beat the previous best tournament total – set by Chinese-Taipei’s Tsai Chi-huang in 2002 – by one shot.

Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman and Sarit Suwannarut from Thailand tied for third, six shots back after both carded 71s.

I’m really happy to win my first Asian Tour title at home. I’ve always wanted to do this. To be honest, it’s really pressurising. My friends, sponsors and family were out there supporting me,” said 36-year-old Chan, who won US$200,000 and moved into 10th place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

The Chinese-Taipei star started his late charge with a birdie on the 15th, before his Indian opponent dropped a shot on the penultimate hole to set up the thrilling showdown on the last.

This is my first time being in the final group in my many years of playing in this tournament. I just keep telling myself to stay calm and stick to my game plan and stay positive,” he added.

It was Chan’s fifth victory on the Asian Tour and third in 10 months: he won the Blue Canyon Phuket Championship at the end of November last year, which was the Asian Tour’s first event back after a two-year break caused by the pandemic; and he won in Thailand again at the Royal’s Cup in February. He was also victorious in the King’s Cup in Thailand in 2016 and two months later the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup in Japan.

He also tied third here last year and equal second the year before. Because of travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the event didn’t feature on the Asian Tour schedule in 2020 and 2021.

The win also maintained Chan’s 100% record in play-offs, as he has won two on the Asian Development Tour and one on the Taiwan PGA circuit.

Two-time Asian Tour winner Khan was in search of his first Asian Tour title in eight years. Both of his previous successes came in 2014, at the SAIL-SBI Open in India, and the Chiangmai Golf Classic, in Thailand.

He had a one-shot lead at the turn and after a birdie on 10 and 13 he looked a safe bet for the title.  

“It was going really well, but I knew the last four holes would be crucial,” said Khan, who three-putted the par-five 15th having reached the green in two. “I hit a good shot on the 15th hole, but I ended up missing it on the side of the green where I hadn’t practiced. I had no idea about the read and three-putted.

The Asian Tour heads to the International Series Morocco next from Royal Golf Dar Es Salam from November 3-6.

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