Chan finally bags title on home soil
Taiwanese star pips Khan in close battle
published : 3 Oct 2022 at 04:30
newspaper section: Sports
Tamsui: Chan Shih-chang won the US$1 million Mercuries Taiwan Masters yesterday to finally claim an Asian Tour title on home soil for the first time, but only after a titanic battle with India's Rashid Khan.
The Taiwanese star beat Khan on the second hole of a sudden-death play-off at the par-72 Taiwan Golf and Country Club, incredibly, after coming from three shots behind with five to play before making birdie three times on the par-four 18th.
A brilliant nine-foot birdie putt saw him secure the title, after Khan had missed his birdie attempt from 20 feet, while Chan holed a 21-foot putt for birdie on the first extra hole, before Khan made his from two feet. Chan sensationally forced the play-off when he holed a nine-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole as Khan agonisingly missed his birdie chance from six feet.
Both players carded four-under-par 68s to finish on 15 under and beat the previous best tournament total -- set by Taiwan's Tsai Chi-huang's in 2002 -- by one shot.
Bangladesh's Siddikur Rahman and Sarit Suwannarut from Thailand tied for third, six shots back after both carding 71s.
"Really happy to win my first Asian Tour title at home. To be honest, it's really pressurising. My friends, sponsors and family were out there supporting me today," said Chan, who won $200,000 and moved into 10th place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
The Taiwanese star started his come from behind win 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 playing 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 out there," he added.
This is Chan's fifth victory on the Asian Tour and third in 10 months: he claimed the Blue Canyon Phuket Championship in November last year and he won in Thailand again this year 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.
Two-time Asian Tour winner Khan was in search of his first Asian Tour title in eight years. 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, just that I knew the last four holes are crucial," said Khan.