Kiradech seals dramatic China win

Mon 20 Apr 2015

Kiradech seals dramatic China win

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April 20: Overnight leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat won the inaugural Shenzhen International after defeating Chinese teenage sensation Li Hao-tong with a birdie on the first play-off hole on Sunday.
The 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion sensationally eagled the 17th hole with a 20-foot putt to draw level with the 19-year-old Li.
An excellent approach from a fairway bunker on 18 gave the Thai a putt to win the tournament in regulation play, but his effort slipped to the right of the hole, meaning he and Li would return to the 18th tee.
Kiradech, who won the 2013 Maybank Malaysian Open which was co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour, repeated his approach to find the middle of the green, while Li left himself a much longer putt.
Li made par while Kiradech sunk a beautiful birdie and celebrated wildly before showing his respect and embracing his mother. The win pushed him to 78th position on the Official World Golf Ranking.
“Special thanks goes to my caddie, he was always pushing me. When we were two behind on the last two holes he said you have not lost, we have not signed the scorecard yet. He was completely right, and I just got the job done,” said Kiradech, who totalled 12-under-par 276.
“I had a chance to win in 72 holes, but the putt in the play-off is the best putt I have ever made in my life.
“I’ve been struggling for a year. I lost my coach (Natpasit Chokthanasart, who died in December 2013), then changed my equipment. There have been lots of changes since I won, so I’m so happy to get my hands on another trophy.”
Asian Tour honorary member Y.E. Yang ended his campaign in tied fourth in China while Scott Hend of Australia, a six-time Asian Tour champion, finished in tied 15th place.
On the US PGA Tour Anirban Lahiri of India carded a one-over-par 72 to finish tied 44th on a four-under-par 280 total. Jim Furyk ended a five-year title drought by defeating Kevin Kisner in a play-off.
In Japan, Daisuke Kataoka carded a three-under-par 68 to settle for fourth place, three shots off from Michael Hendry of New Zealand. Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng finished tied eighth following a 70.
Ends.