Da Silva savours long-awaited victory at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters

Sun 30 Sep 2018

Da Silva savours long-awaited victory at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters

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Chinese Taipei, September 30: Adilson Da Silva of Brazil claimed a long-awaited victory on the Asian Tour after closing with a third consecutive two-under-par 70 to win by one shot at the storied Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Sunday. 

The 46-year-old Da Silva, who held a one-shot lead heading into the final round, fired three birdies on the third, seventh and 13th holes before dropping a shot on the last for a winning total of seven-under-par 281 in the US$850,000 event.

Da Silva, who started playing on Tour after coming through the Qualifying School in 2011, earned a career-biggest prize purse of US$170,000 thanks to his victory. He also became the first Brazilian to win on the region’s premier Tour since it was inaugurated in 2004.

Local hero Lin Wen-tang signed for a 70 to share second place with American Berry Henson, who posted a 69, at the fabled Taiwan Golf and Country Club, which is celebrating its centennial year in 2018.

Qualifying school graduate Heungchol Joo of Korea marked his best result so far this season after battling to a 72 to sit in fourth place alongside South African Justin Harding, who closed with a 72, in what is the longest running full-field event on the Asian Tour.

Despite missing out on his third win of the season, Harding took pride in his commendable result which moved him up two spots to sixth place on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings, led by India’s Shubhankar Sharma, who finished in tied-42nd place.

The top 10 and top four players (not otherwise exempt) on the Habitat for Humanity standings, as of October 7, will qualify for the US$7 million CIMB Classic and US$10 million WGC-HSBC Champions staged in Malaysia and China respectively.

Did you know?

  • Adilson Da Silva became the first Brazilian to win on the Asian Tour following his victory. He also takes home a career-biggest prize purse of US$170,000 thanks to his win.
  • Da Silva has an impeccable track record at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters. He has not finished outside top-three in his last three starts in the storied event. In his debut appearance in 2012, he also enjoyed a tied-ninth place finish.
  • Prior to this week, Da Silva has made only three cuts in 11 starts this season. He started the season with six consecutive missed cuts before claiming a tied-ninth place result in Japan last week.
  • Last year, Da Silva came in joint runner-up after finishing two shots back of winner Gavin Green of Malaysia. He used back the same local caddy this week.
  • Da Silva welcomed his twin daughters, Sienna and Amelia, three months ago.
  • Da Silva enjoyed a career high in 2016 when he was given the honour of striking the first tee shot at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro when golf made a return into the programme after 112 years.
  • Da Silva has won multiple times on the Sunshine Tour. He started playing extensively in Zimbabwe from between 1996 to 2003, winning more than 30 titles and five Zimbabwean Order of Merit crowns. Played in the British Open in 2000 and 2007.
  • Lin Wen-tang is one of Chinese Taipei’s most successful golfers. He holds a total of six victories on the Asian Tour, including the Mercuries Taiwan Masters which he won in 2009. Lin has also won twice on home soil on the Asian Development Tour (ADT).
  • Berry Henson, a one-time Asian Tour winner, made an amazing return from a career-threatening wrist injury by notching three consecutive top-10 finishes earlier in the season.
  • The 39-year-old Henson, who claimed his breakthrough in his rookie year on the Asian Tour in 2011, marked his best result this season with his joint runner-up finish this week.

Players’ quotes:

Adilson Da Silva (Bra) – Final round 70 (-2), Total 281 (-7)

This means so much to me. I really like playing in Asia and it’s so special to win here. The whole atmosphere here is great. The sponsors are great here as well. Mr George Wong, Chairman of the Mercuries Group, has been here the whole week, talking to players every now and then.

You don’t see that anywhere else. I think it’s just great to see. I had a number to make on my mind today. I told myself not to worry about other people’s scores and just focus shot by shot. I think that helped me a lot.

I ignored everything else and managed to do my thing out there. I hit my tee shots very good. I kept giving myself chances in approach shots. If you missed the fairways, it’s very difficult to stop the ball on the greens. But I gave myself a lot of chances by keeping it in play.

I am really comfortable with the layout here. I also think it’s a very fair golf course because if you hit good shots, you will be rewarded. This year, the greens are so good. It’s the best I have ever seen. Over the years, I found a plan to play the course as well.

I was just trying to hit the same shots over and over on every hole. I never change my plan much to be honest. That experiences have helped me a lot a lot. I just kept it very simple really. I didn’t really complicate things too much.

I had a bit of a tough time at the beginning of the year. I struggled with my putting a lot. I was very disappointed because I was playing pretty well. It’s just my putting which has been so bad. It affected my entire game because I wasn’t able to give as much attention in playing good. I couldn’t get anything positive.

But I realised that I am not having a good mindset about my game so I picked myself up, went through my rounds and see what went wrong. I have been working really hard on my putting and it started to pay off. This win just came at the right time.

When you start making putts, you start gaining confidence. I have been changing putters but I kind of switch back to my old ways of putting, my old technique. It’s just so special to finally win in Asia and in a tournament that meant so much to me. I am really happy with myself.

My wife Althea and I just welcomed our twin girls three months ago, Sienna and Amelia. My son is nearly five years old now. I guess they just pushed me to do better. I want to do better for them and I did it. They say newborns give you luck. I guess that’s true!

I had a good feeling out there. I told myself I can do this. I have been putting well and I just have to believe it and stay in the presence. I woke up with the same mindset today. I wasn’t really excited and I wasn’t thinking about my overnight one-shot lead.

I kept a quiet mind and had a number on my mind and just try to achieve it. I think this frame of mind helped a lot. I used the same caddy whom I used last year when I came in joint second. He helped me a lot with the line readings. He is very good.

I enjoyed the same time since I came to play in Asia. I am really happy with my win. I want to send my appreciation to Mr. George Wong again. He’s been such a good sponsor. He’s so keen in getting involved with the game and he’s so passionate about it. He really likes the game. This is what the game needs and it’s really good to see.

Berry Henson (Usa) – Final round 69 (-3), Total 282 (-6)

I got off to a fantastic start. I thought I could make the turn at five-under today. That was my plan last night. I came really close to doing that today. I played fantastic. But I made a bogey on the 10th, which was a tough hole. It was a good bogey actually. I didn’t feel like I lost so much.

I hit a fantastic iron-shot on the 11th hole which kind of got my back into the rhythm. I just missed the putt short. I went on to make an unbelievable birdie on the 17th hole which was massive but just pulled my tee shot a little bit left on the 18th and got a really bad spot.

I got another bad spot after that but hit an unbelievable chip to about four-feet. It’s one of the best shots I have hit all week although I finished with a bogey. There are lots of positives to take from this week. I didn’t play my best golf until today.

I kind of struggled most of the week but my short game kept me in it. Just to have a chance to go for the title was all that I was hoping for this week. I did it so I’ll take it. Still have an outside chance to qualify for the CIMB Classic. Hopefully I can carry on my good form in next week.

Lin Wen-tang (Tpe) – Final round 70 (-2), Total 282 (-6)

Adilson is just so steady today. He really knows his way around this course. I think I played too aggressively as well but I just try to stay light-hearted out there. It’s definitely disappointing to come up short but I really did try my best out there today.

On a windy day like this, you need a little bit of luck around this course too. Adilson is a good player. He’s also a very steady player. I knew I need to shoot a really low number if I want to chase him down. I trust the wind too much today I think.

I am happy with my result. I had fun today. My whole family is here to support me, my wife, my son and my daughter. I am especially thankful to my wife. I think this is the first time she has ever step into a golf course to support me. She has never done that before.

She left with my daughter right after I finished playing. She doesn’t want to get exposed to the public (laughs). The last time she came out to watch me play, she was still my girlfriend and she was so nervous when she watched me putt then.

I will continue to work hard. This course is hard to handle, to be honest. I knew I was just one shot back after the 16th hole. I just got too aggressive on the 17th where I ended up making a mistake.

Justin Harding (Rsa) – Final round 72 (even), Total 284 (-4)

It’s still a good result although it wasn’t quite the weekend that I would like to have. I missed a couple of short putts again. It’s just the same story I had yesterday. I felt like I was in control. I guess you got to hit the fairways on this course.

It was a bit frustrating because you felt like you have the game to do well but it’s not enough to get the job done. I just couldn’t get it going out there. But I’ll take the positives from this week. This should help boost my Merit rankings a bit and still one for week to go before the cut-off date so we’ll see how it goes.

It’s exciting times for me. I have had a good year. I can’t be too upset. I’ll take the positives and figure out the game as I head to the CIMB Classic and potentially the WGC-HSBC Champions.

Scores after round 4 of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters being played at the par 72, 6923 Yards Tamsui Course course (am - denotes amateur):

281 - Adilson DA SILVA (BRA) 71-70-70-70.

282 - Berry HENSON (USA) 71-73-69-69, LIN Wen-tang (TPE) 70-72-70-70.

284 - Justin HARDING (RSA) 68-73-71-72, Heungchol JOO (KOR) 75-71-66-72.

285 - Shiv KAPUR (IND) 71-73-71-70.

286 - HSIEH Tung-hung (TPE) 75-71-69-71, Scott VINCENT (ZIM) 73-71-69-73.

287 - Sanghyun PARK (KOR) 74-71-74-68, Shaun NORRIS (RSA) 76-70-71-70, LU Wei-chih (TPE) 73-71-71-72, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 70-72-70-75.

288 - Kurt KITAYAMA (USA) 70-75-74-69, Josh YOUNGER (AUS) 72-72-72-72, Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 68-77-71-72, LU Chien-soon (TPE) 72-74-68-74.

289 - John CATLIN (USA) 72-72-73-72.

290 - Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 71-76-75-68, Maverick ANTCLIFF (AUS) 69-72-76-73, Jeev Milkha SINGH (IND) 72-73-72-73, Johannes VEERMAN (USA) 75-72-70-73, Jake HIGGINBOTTOM (AUS) 72-75-70-73, Lionel WEBER (FRA) 68-73-73-76.

291 - HUNG Chien-yao (TPE) 70-76-74-71, TSAI Chi-huang (TPE) 71-71-72-77.

Ends.

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), Habitat for Humanity (Official Sustainable Development Partner), ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), Titleist and FootJoy (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.