Honest Shin joins band of young Tour champions

Sentosa, November 13: At the age of 20 years and 351 days, Micah Lauren Shin of the United States showed nerves of steel at the Resorts World Manila Masters to become the youngest first-time Asian Tour winner in 2017.

The lanky Korean-American showed maturity beyond his young age when he admirably called a ruling on himself on the first hole after realising he had an extra club in his golf bag.

“I wanted my caddy to get the hybrid fitted at the range before my round but my caddy forgot to do it. I kept practising and relied on my caddy too much. I teed off and was walking to my second shot and my caddy asked me what I wanted to do with the rescue wood and it was then that I realized I had too many clubs in my bag,” Shin explained.

The infringement added two shots on his scorecard but it fuelled his desire to win his first Asian Tour title. He did it in sensational style by defeating Arnond Vongvanij of Thailand with a birdie on the first play-off hole to become the ninth first-time Tour member to win this year.

Micah Lauren Shin of the USA

Micah Lauren Shin of the USA

He is also the latest player still in his 20s after Todd Sinnott, Jazz Janewattananond, Rattanon Wannasrichan, Nicholas Fung, Daisuke Kataoka, Gavin Green, Ajeetesh Sandhu and Panuphol Pittayarat to taste success for the first time on the region’s premier Tour.

“This victory is everything to me and it feels so good. Earlier it felt like a big hole in my chest but right now I’m relief,” said Shin following his victory at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club.

Shin, who resides in Davao, Philippines, earned an Asian Tour card through Qualifying School earlier this year but it was his experience of playing on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) regularly since 2014 which prepared him for the big league.

Following the victory, Shin moved up to 14th place on the Order of Merit where Green of Malaysia tightened his grip on the crown after finishing tied seventh at the Resorts World Manila Masters.

Green, who has won US$567,336 so far this season, leads from second placed David Lipsky of the United States by slightly more than US$100,000. The 2017 Order of Merit race will go down the wire with five events with a total purse of more than US$5 million on offer before the season ends.

“This victory is everything to me and it feels so good. Earlier it felt like a big hole in my chest but right now I’m relief.” – Micah Lauren Shin.

“Last week will definitely help strengthen my lead on the Order of Merit which is good but Phachara (Khongwatmai) is doing well. He and S.S.P. Chawrasia are going to close in a little bit after this week. There are still a few more events coming up so I have to do well and finish strong in those events,” said Green.

Reigning Merit winner Scott Hend of Australia stayed in third place on US$434,029 while S.S.P. Chawrasia (US$378,378) of India and Phachara Khongwatmai (US$358,352) of Thailand are in fourth and fifth place respectively.

The Asian Tour will travel for the US$2 million UBS Hong Kong Open, sanctioned with the European Tour, next week. The popular tournament will be played at the Hong Kong Golf Club from November 23 to 26.

Asian Tour Order of Merit – Top-20

Pos Player Order of Merit (US$)

1. Gavin GREEN (MAS)                                    $567,336

2. David LIPSKY (USA)                                                 $461,179

3. Scott HEND (AUS)                                        $434,029

4. S.S.P. CHAWRASIA (IND)                             $378,378

5. Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA)               $358,352

6. Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA)                $305,925

7. Poom SAKSANSIN (THA)                              $299,678

8. Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN)                              $284,489

9. Prayad MARKSAENG (THA)                         $272,308

10. Shiv KAPUR   (IND)                                       $265,469

11. Richard T. LEE (CAN)                                   $243,059

12. Gaganjeet BHULLAR   (IND)                      $235,530

13. Juvic PAGUNSAN (PHI)                              $232,971

14. Micah Lauren SHIN   (USA)                       $218,238

15. Panuphol PITTAYARAT   (THA)                 $210,903

16. Younghan SONG   (KOR)                           $208,231

17. Ajeetesh SANDHU   (IND)                          $193,420

18. Carlos PIGEM   (ESP)                                 $192,413

19. K.T. KIM   (KOR)                                        $180,466

20. Todd SINNOTT   (AUS)                               $179,545

About Asian Tour

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 Rolex (Official Timekeeper), Panasonic (Official Consumer Electronics), ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), FENIX XCell (Official Apparel Supplier), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Partner), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official International Media Partner), Wall Street Journal (Official International Media Partner) and Sentosa in Singapore which is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.

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