Manila, November 17: China’s Liang Wen-chong marked his return to the Philippines after more than five years by defeating Thailand’s Prom Meesawat in the first play-off hole to win the inaugural Resorts World Manila Masters on Sunday.
The Chinese third Asian Tour win was made even more significant as he decided to donate half of his total winnings to victims suffering from the aftermath of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan.
Liang’s run at the Resorts World Manila Masters was also remarkable as he had to play through the pain barrier and force his way into the play-off with Prom after closing with a three-under-par 69 at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club.
“Before coming over to the Philippines, I was really affected by what I saw of the damage and victims suffering from the aftermath of the Typhoon on television. I’ve decided to donate 50% of my winnings to do my part and support the relief efforts,” said Liang, who took home the winner’s prize cheque of US$135,000.
Liang, who had taken the overnight lead, extended his advantage after two birdies on holes three and four during regulation play.
He dropped a shot on a par-three fifth but turned his game around following a double-bogey six on the ninth.
The Chinese decided to drop his cautious approach and opted for an aggressive style of play instead.
His attack paid off handsomely as he fired four birdies on the holes 11th, 13th, 15th and the all-important 18th which would lead the contest into a play-off with Prom after compiling his four-day total of 16-under-par 272.
At the first play-off hole, Liang seized the advantage when Prom’s second shot found the bunker.
The Thai could only blast his shot out of the bunker while Liang was in prime position for an eagle opportunity.
Liang snuffed out all hopes for Prom when his putt from the edge of the green stopped inches away from the pin.
A simple tap from the 2007 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner was enough for him to seal his win at the inaugural Asian Tour event.
“I’m really thankful for all the great support this week. I had Ali on my bag (Malaysia’s Danny Chia’s regular caddie) and he did a great job. The Asian Tour physiotherapist, Muk also did an excellent job in taping my wrist which really helped a lot. I guess it’s the combination of all these factors which led me to my win this week,” said Liang.
Meanwhile Prom was left to wait longer for this second Asian Tour win despite a gutsy performance on a day where he carded a flawless 65 to stand on the brink of ending his seven-year title drought.
While the second win continued to elude him, Prom was optimistic with his welcome return to form as he had spent several frustrating years searching to regain that form.
“I had a bad season in 2010 when I lost all my confidence. I’ve been working very hard since. My friends and my team have been a great help. My wife and family have been supporting me too. I am glad I am starting to play good again,” said Prom.
Canadian rookie Richard T. Lee enjoyed another solid result in the Philippines after posting the day’s lowest round of 64 to share third place with fellow Asian Tour rookie Carlos Pigem in equal third on 273.
Lee, who finished second in the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January, capped another memorable week in the Philippines after finding similar success with a tied-second finish in Manila in April.
“It has been a steady year for me. I came here this week looking to retain my Tour card and also to get that first win. I managed to achieve my first goal and I guess the next target now would be that win,” said Lee.
Pigem is also enjoying his experience on playing on the region’s premier Tour after posting his best result at the Resorts World Manila Masters.
“I played really good today. I missed three or four putts but overall, it’s good. I am really happy with my game this week. It does not matter how I finished today. I was kind of disappointed yesterday but I managed to make it up today,” said Pigem.
“It has been a great year playing in Asia. I have a few more events coming up. Hopefully I can maintain my good form till the end of the season,” added the Spaniard.
Scores after round 4 of the Resorts World Manila Masters being played at the par 72, 7337 Yard Manila Southwoods Golf course (a- denotes amateur):
272 – LIANG Wen-chong (CHN) 67-69-67-69, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 67-67-73-65.
*Liang defeated Prom in the first play-off hole with a birdie
273 – Richard T. LEE (CAN) 65-68-76-64, Carlos PIGEM (ESP) 68-66-74-65.
274 – Stephen LEWTON (ENG) 70-66-71-67, Sutijet KOORATANAPISAN (THA) 67-71-68-68, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 64-69-72-69, Nicholas FUNG (MAS) 70-64-70-70.
276 – Charles HONG (PHI) 66-70-75-65, Mithun PERERA (SRI) 69-67-71-69, David LIPSKY (USA) 66-69-69-72.
277 – WANG Jeung-hun (KOR) 67-74-68-68.
278 – Carlos SAINZ Jr. (PHI) 66-71-74-67, Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND) 72-69-71-66, Chris RODGERS (ENG) 68-66-75-69, Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 69-68-71-70, Adilson DA SILVA (BRA) 68-67-72-71, HUNG Chien-yao (TPE) 68-68-71-71, David LUTTERUS (AUS) 68-70-69-71.
286 – Mardan MAMAT (SIN) 71-70-71-74, ZHANG Lian-wei (CHN) 68-72-73-73
About the Resorts World Manila Masters
A new era will beckon for professional golf in the Philippines when the Resorts World Manila Masters makes its debut on the Asian Tour. The newest US$750,000 event will be held at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club from November 14 to 17, 2013 with all four rounds beamed live on the Asian Tour’s global television platform that reaches over 200 countries and 650 million homes.
By signing a landmark five-year agreement with the Asian Tour, Resorts World Manila Masters will not only expose local athletes to the highest level of competition, but will also put the Philippines on the international golfing radar.
The Resorts World Manila Masters also marks yet another step in Resorts World Manila’s efforts to champion Filipino talent, not only in entertainment and the arts, but also in terms of sports as it supports and develops local athletes for international success.
The Resorts World Manila Masters is title sponsored by Resorts World Manila with the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club as the official host venue. Other sponsors include Nike Golf, BMW, Sony, Asia Brewery, Canon, PLDT, Remington Hotel, Marriott Manila and media partner, Business Mirror.
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Subway (Official Quick Service Restaurant), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.