Xiamen, China, December 3: China’s Bowen Xiao lifted his first professional win after prevailing on the second extra hole in a play-off against Australian Bryden Macpherson at the US$350,000 KG S&H CITY Asian Golf Championship on Sunday.
The 27-year-old Xiao, who joined the play-for-pay ranks in 2012, held a three-shot lead after 14 holes but three bogeys in his closing four holes saw him sign for a two-over-par 74, which forced him to go the distance with Macpherson, who ended his campaign with a 69.
The duo were tied on three-under-par 285 total in regulation play at the Kaikou Golf Club’s West course. Xiao missed a five-footer for birdie on the first play-off hole held on the 440-yard par-four 18 to settle for par alongside Macpherson.
He redeemed himself by making a four-footer birdie putt in his second attempt on the same play-off hole to seal the victory while the 27-year-old Macpherson, who needed to claim the title to win the China Tour Order of Merit crown, bowed out with a par.
Xiao, who is playing in his Asian Tour debut this week, took home a winner’s cheque of US$63,000 and earned a one-year exemption on the Asian Tour following his victory.
Rising star Liu Yan-wei of China marked his best result on the Asian Tour after closing with a 71 to settle one shot back in third place on his own.
Australian Maverick Antcliff returned with the day’s best score of a 66 to share fourth place on 287 alongside countryman and overnight leader Marcus Both (77), as well as Callum Tarren (74) of England.
Did you know:
· With this victory, Bowen Xiao became the third Chinese player, following Zhang Lian-wei and Liang Wen-chong, to win on the region’s premier Tour.
· Xiao is a self-taught golfer and he looks up to Tiger Woods. Even while competing at the Asian Golf Championship, he woke up early to catch Woods’ highlights at the Hero World Challenge.
· Bryden Macpherson has enjoyed a successful 2017 season on the China Tour. He won one event in Beijing and enjoyed five other top-10 finishes prior to this week.
· Macpherson has made three appearances in Major Championships in his career. He earned starts at The Open in 2011 and 2014 as well as the Masters Tournament in 2012.
· Macpherson was left to rue a missed opportunity in winning the 2017 China Tour Order of Merit crown after settling for runner-up finish at the Asian Golf Championship. He lost out on the title by approximately ¥800.
· Liu Yan-wei proved his rising star’s credentials after claiming his best finish on the Asian Tour at the Asian Golf Championship. It was also his second top-10 finish on the Asian Tour this season.
· The second runner-up result helped Liu moved to 64th place on the money list, edging him closer to breaking into top-60 to secure his 2018 Asian Tour card with two events left to play before the end of the season.
· Liu has also finished inside the top-10 five times on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) in 2017 and he is currently ranked 18th on ADT Order of Merit.
Bowen Xiao (Chn) – Final Round 74 (+2), Total 285 (-3)
When I started making bogeys on 15 and 16, I got nervous because I only had a one-shot lead. The four-feet bogey putt on the par-four 18th was the highlight for me today as it ensured my place in the play-off.
When I knew I got into the play-off, I felt really relieved. I thought it doesn’t matter if I lose or win because I am already very happy with how I played. I was quite composed heading into the play-off so I guess that helped.
I am really honoured to be the third player from China to win on the Asian Tour. I don’t dare to compare myself against former Asian Tour winners Liang Wen-chong and Zhang Lian-wei because I have not achieved as much as they did for golf in China.
I started playing golf in 2008 and turned professional in 2012. This is my very first professional win and it means the world to me. I enjoyed playing against the Asian Tour players in my first Asian Tour event this week so I am looking forward to playing on the Asian Tour again.
It’s great to win a one-year exemption on the Asian Tour. I am going to go back and have a think through on my schedule for next year. I will also ask my friends on the Asian Tour for some advices as well. Tiger Woods is my idol. It’s great to see him making a comeback this week.
I have been waking up early to watch him play this week. I have always liked the way he plays. I guess I am more or less inspired by him this week.
Before winning today, I have imagined countless times how my first victory will be liked. It was never the way it turned out today. I am actually feeling really emotional inside. I have a lot of people to thank for. It hasn’t been easy but I am glad I managed to get the job done this week.
Bryden Macpherson (Aus) – Final Round 69 (-3), Total 285 (-3)
I played really well. It was a tough golf course. I didn’t hit any bad shots, apart from a few earlier in the tournament. That happens but today, I played really well to put myself into contention.
Today, I hit a bad shot on the 14th. Aside from that, I played great. I gave myself every opportunity and unfortunately sometimes, things just don’t go your way.
Xiao played really well in the two playoff holes. I don’t mind losing to good golf and he played some really good golf.
During the play-off, nothing was in my mind. I just wanted to play golf. I didn’t hit my approach shots as well as I’d love to, but it happens. It is part of golf.
The Asian Golf Championship is great. It’s very professional and run very well. I’m looking orward to playing more golf with these guys (from the Asian Tour) in the future.
Liu Yan-wei (Chn) – Final Round 71 (-1), Total 286 (-2)
I would have loved to do better, but overall, it has been a very good week for me.
Today, I played quite patiently. I had a very good back nine (where he carded four birdies and two bogeys).
I was thinking of chasing for the lead, especially after the birdie on the 17th. It didn’t materialize, but that’s alright.
This year, I’m aiming to get into the top-60 of the Asian Tour Order of Merit. My results this would have certainly helped
Marcus Both (Aus) – Final Round 77 (+5), Total 287 (-1)
As I’ve said all week, it’s a golf course that will bite you. A double or triple is just one bad swing away. Aside from one hole, I’ve done a great job throughout the tournament.
It’s hard to win a tournament. I had this amazing calmness this morning. The warm up was great and the first few holes were great.
If I’m looking at the entire tournament, I only had four over-par holes. Two bogeys on the first day. One bogey today, and obviously that one (the par-four fourth).
After that, I played very nicely. I played a nice tee shot and a nice iron shot. I never thought that I was out of it.
Namchok Tantipokhakul (Tha) – Final Round 75 (+3), Total 288 (even par)
Today wasn’t great for me. I had quite a number of bogeys. Even had two lost balls. I wasn’t nervous today, it just didn’t work out for me on Sunday.
I’m just happy that I achieved a top-10 finish. I’m now closer to a top-60 finish on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
Scores after round 4 of the KG S&H City Asian Golf Championship being played at the par 72, 7012 Yards Kaikou Golf Club course (am – denotes amateur):
285 – Bowen XIAO (CHN) 71-67-73-74, Bryden MACPHERSON (AUS) 74-70-72-69.
286 – LIU Yan-wei (CHN) 69-74-72-71.
287 – Maverick ANTCLIFF (AUS) 74-72-75-66, Callum TARREN (ENG) 69-74-70-74, Marcus BOTH (AUS) 72-69-69-77.
288 – Sunil JUNG (CAN) 74-74-69-71, Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA) 68-71-74-75.
289 – Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 73-72-72-72.
290 – HUNG Chien-yao (TPE) 69-78-72-71.
291 – LEE Chieh-po (TPE) 71-75-73-72, HAK Shun Yat (HKG) 73-75-71-72, Peradol PANYATHANASEDH (THA) 74-75-69-73.
292 – Mathew WEBB (ENG) 73-75-73-71, LIN Wen-tang (TPE) 73-75-72-72.
293 – CHAN Shih-chang (TPE) 74-72-75-72.
294 – Settee PRAKONGVECH (THA) 76-76-72-70, LI Xin-yang (CHN) 71-77-75-71, Teemu PUTKONEN (FIN) 69-78-73-74.