Garcia triumphs after play-off success #HoTramOpen

Sun 06 Dec 2015

Garcia triumphs after play-off success #HoTramOpen

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Ho Tram, Vietnam, December 6: World number 12 Sergio Garcia prevailed in a four-way play-off to win in the inaugural US$1.5 million Ho Tram Open after an enthralling final round on Sunday.
The 35-year-old Spaniard parred the second extra hole at The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip to pip a courageous Himmat Rai of India to the title after Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang and Thai veteran Thaworn Wiratchant had bowed out earlier in the richest full-field Asian Tour tournament this season.
Sergio Garcia of Spain and Himmat Rai of India Sergio Garcia of Spain and Himmat Rai of India
Garcia’s 23rd career Tour victory and his first since January, 2014 came with a cheque of US$270,000.
“Winning is never easy. I was fortunate and you have to be lucky to win. I was fortunate to get a second chance after I pretty much gave it away. I’m very happy as I haven’t won in a while. After you’ve been up there and you don’t win, a lot of things go through your mind and this win will help give me a little bit more confidence,” said Garcia, who signed off with a three-under-par 68 for a 14-under-par 270 aggregate.
Starting the day two back of overnight leader Lin, Garcia stormed out with a stunning outward 29 to open up a three-shot lead before his game surprisingly unravelled with a bogey on 10 and a double bogey on 17.
Thaworn and Rai came home in 67s while Lin scrambled to a 70 to force extra-time which left spectators at the edge of their seats as they awaited to hail the Ho Tram Open’s first ever champion.
In the first extra hole on 18, Garcia, who has now won five Asian Tour titles, drained a massive 35-foot birdie putt which was matched by Rai, who coolly converted from five feet after Lin and Thaworn missed their birdie attempts.
The Spaniard then claimed a popular victory with a par after Rai dropped a bogey after finding the bushes with an errant drive.
“It was a strange day. It felt like I was so much under control, the way I played the front nine. Then I hit a bad tee shot on 10 but I still managed to get it back together and had some chances which I didn’t make. Then I hit a poor shot on 17,” said Garcia.
Lin Wen-tang of Chinese Taipe Lin Wen-tang of Chinese Taipe
“I guess they gave me a hat in my hand, I gave it away and they gave me another chance. It was just luck for me. I had 30 to 35 feet (in the first play-off hole), and even if you hit a great putt, you need to get lucky. Then I managed to get to the next hole and unfortunately Rai pulled it a bit left into the bushes and I managed to make four and that was it.”
Rai, whose lone Asian Tour victory came in 2011, charged into contention with a birdie, birdie, eagle run from the 14th hole but rued a three-putt bogey on 18 in regulation play which proved costly.
However, the 28-year-old Indian took comfort that his joint runner-up cheque of US$111,500 was more than enough to safely secure his Tour card for next season after starting the week in 116th place on the Order of Merit.
“I enjoyed it because I played really good. On the second play-off hole, I just rushed it. I wasn’t feeling comfortable with my grip and I should have backed off. I was a little bit disappointed,” said Rai.
“I was showing signs of improvement this year. The game was there. It was about putting it together and I’m so glad I did it this week. Thank God, it has all worked out and I have an Asian Tour card for next year. It was looking very bleak.”
Unorthodox swinging Thaworn, who played alongside Garcia in the final round, was disappointed his birdie attempt from 10 feet in the first extra hole agonisingly hit the edge of the cup. “My putt was against the wind and I knew I had to putt it a bit harder but it was probably too hard. It was a good line,” said the 49-year-old, who was chasing a 19th Asian Tour title.
Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand
Lin felt his three-putt bogey on 17 blew his chances of winning a seventh Asian Tour title. “I missed too many short birdie putts. Then I three-putted on the 17th hole and I think that’s the turning point. In the play-off, I was stupid. I put too much power in my swing and hit my tee shot into the right sand dune. I had a crazy lie,” said the man from Taipei.
Since opening in October 2014, the links-style layout located two hours southeast of Ho Chi Minh City has been hailed by many of the world’s leading authorities on golf. In January, GOLF Magazine named it one of the world’s best new courses. In July, the Australian Financial Review called it “as pretty a course as you’ll find on the entire Asian continent. Last month it was named the World’s Best New Course at the World Golf Awards ceremony in Portugal.
For more information about the Ho Tram Open including player bios and sponsorship options, visit www.hotramopen.com.
Scores after round 4 of the Ho Tram Open being played at the par 71, 6,797 Yards The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip course (am - denotes amateur):
270 - Sergio GARCIA (ESP) 66-68-68-68, Himmat RAI (IND) 66-69-68-67, Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 64-71-68-67, LIN Wen-tang (TPE) 65-67-68-70.
(Garcia wins with a par on the second play-off hole)
271 - Thomas BJORN (DEN) 69-70-68-64.
273 - Sam CYR (USA) 69-69-70-65, Shaun NORRIS (RSA) 66-71-65-71.
Sergio Garcia of Spain Sergio Garcia of Spain
274 - Sunghoon KANG (KOR) 72-68-67-67.
275 - Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 68-67-72-68, Terry PILKADARIS (AUS) 71-67-69-68, Paul PETERSON (USA) 66-70-68-71.
276 - Nicholas FUNG (MAS) 65-70-72-69, Charlie WI (KOR) 62-72-72-70.
277 - Jeunghun WANG (KOR) 75-67-70-65, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 69-71-68-69, Geoff OGILVY (AUS) 69-70-67-71.
About Asian Coast Development (Canada) Ltd
Asian Coast Development (Canada) Ltd. (ACDL) is an international development company specializing in integrated resort destinations. ACDL, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Ho Tram Project Company Ltd, is the developer of the Ho Tram Strip, a group of integrated resorts and residential development located on more than 400 acres of land with more than two kilometers of pristine beach in Ho Tram, Vietnam and an approved Investment Certificate issued by the Government of Vietnam. With a focus on providing a personalized blend of excitement and relaxation, the Ho Tram Strip will feature something for everyone, from lavish entertainment to premium shopping and exceptional recreational facilities.
The first phase of its development – The Grand Ho Tram Strip – opened its doors in 2013 and includes a 541 room five-star hotel, a world-class entertainment facility, restaurants, high-tech meeting space, an exclusive VIP area, three swimming pools, as well as a variety of beach-front recreation activities. The Ho Tram Strip is one of the region’s largest integrated resort projects with major future development phases including an additional 559 rooms and further leisure amenities that will complete The Grand Ho Tram Strip.  Adjacent to The Grand, the 18 hole Greg Norman designed Championship golf course – The Bluffs – opened for play in early 2014.  Future developments at the site will include a residential offering, a second integrated resort similar in size and scale to The Grand, and three additional five star resorts.
About the 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 FENIX Golf (Official Apparel Supplier), Fuji Xerox (Official Office Solutions Partner), Hilton Worldwide (Official Hotel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Sponsor), Oakley (Official Eyewear and Footwear Sponsor), Srixon (Official Ball), Titleist (Official Web Partner) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). Sentosa, Singapore is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf,www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour