Lin Ends Drought With Taiwan Open Win

Sun 08 Oct 2006

Lin Ends Drought With Taiwan Open Win

Taipei, October 8: Chinese Taipei's Lin Wen-tang secured a maiden Asian Tour title with a stylish three-stroke victory at the US$300,000 Taiwan Open on Sunday.

Lin, who led by two heading into the final round, carded a closing three-under-par 69 for a four-day total of 13-under-par 275 at Sunrise Golf and Country Club and triumphed over Scotsman Simon Yates, who signed off with a 68. Lin won US$47,550.

Australian Pat Giles, battling to secure his Asian Tour card for next season, enjoyed a third place finish following a 68 while last year's Taiwan Open and Order of Merit winner Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand shared fourth place with Chinese Taipei veteran Lin Keng-chi, both wrapping up the week with matching 71s.

"It feels wonderful. I feel great," said an elated Lin, who moved up to 25th place on the latest UBS Order of Merit. "Since last year and in recent weeks as well, I've had several chances to win on the Asian Tour but finally, I've played a good final round to win here."

It was a long-awaited breakthrough for the likeable Lin, who had previously amassed 15 top-10s, including two runner-up outings in 80 previous starts in the region since 1998. But in front of his home crowd, Lin, who has posted three top-10s this season, produced a masterclass performance to join his younger brother Wen-ko as a Tour champion.

A missed putt from four feet for bogey on his second hole of the day did not derail his title charge. Lin bounced back with a vengeance by shooting consecutive birdies on the fifth and sixth holes and turned in 34 with another birdie on the eighth.

He strode confidently towards the title with further birdies on the 13th and 17th holes and a bogey at the par five final hole did not matter in the end. Lin also secured a place in next month's HSBC Champions Tournament in Shanghai which world number one Tiger Woods will headline.

"I've had my chances to win in the past but somehow, I felt like I never had the mental strength to do it. But today I just stuck to my game plan. This win proves that I can win and that I've got the mentality to do succeed on the Asian Tour.

"Although I've won several local events in the past, winning the Taiwan Open is so special as it's my first major title. Hopefully, I can go on to win another one this season," said Lin.

Thai-based Yates birdied all the par fives en route to a five-birdie round as he posted his best finish this season, just months after a shoulder injury had threatened to wreck his season.

He said: "I played nicely today but I missed a lot of putts. But all in all, I was quite pleased with my week. It was good."

Title holder Thaworn was pushing hard for a successful defence but his hopes ended in the watery grave when his tee shot into the par three 16th hole found water for a double bogey.

Chinese Taipei's Wang Ter-chang, the recent Brunei Open champion, finished tied sixth with England's Yasin Ali on 281.

Leading final round scores

275 - Lin Wen-tang (TPE) 70-68-68-69

278 - Simon Yates (SCO) 70-71-69-68

279 - Pat Giles (AUS) 71-66-74-68

280 - Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 70-69-70-71, Lin Keng-chi (TPE) 69-70-70-71

281 - Wang Ter-chang (TPE) 71-72-67-71, Yasin Ali (ENG) 72-67-70-72

282 - Richard Moir (AUS) 69-72-74-67, Tony Carolan (AUS) 75-72-66-69

283 - Richard Lee (NZL) 73-74-69-67, Clay Devers (USA) 73-71-68-71, Rick Gibson (CAN) 71-70-70-72

284 - Chinarat Phadungsil (THA) 72-71-72-69, Iain Steel (MAS) 73-71-68-72, Gary Rusnak (USA) 70-66-72-76

285 - Park Jun-won (KOR) 72-71-67-75

286 - Gurbaaz Mann (IND) 72-74-72-68, Chang Tse-peng (TPE) 72-73-70-71, Chen Yuan-chi (TPE) 71-70-73-72, Kane Webber (AUS) 67-71-73-75

287 - Ted Oh (KOR) 71-75-69-72, Ari Savolainen (FIN) 74-71-69-73, Hsieh Tung-shu (TPE) 72-70-71-74, Brad Iles (NZL) 72-69-72-74, Chris Rodgers (ENG) 71-72-70-74, Tsai Chi-huang (TPE) 68-77-66-76, Lee Sung (KOR) 71-68-72-76