Lu Claims Thrilling Play-Off Win in Macau Open

Sun 20 May 2007

Lu Claims Thrilling Play-Off Win in Macau Open

Macau, May 20: Chinese Taipei veteran Lu Wen-teh sensationally claimed the 10th Macau Open title after edging Australian Richard Moir in a nerve-jangling play-off on Sunday.

The 44-year-old Lu produced a magnificent display at Macau Golf and Country Club, first completing the third and final round of the weather-shortened event in six-under-par 65 and then birdieing the par five 18th hole three times to triumph in sudden-death.

Big-hitting Moir forced extra time in the US$300,000 event with two late birdies for a 69 but fell short of a maiden Asian Tour title when he could only par the third extra hole. India's Gaurav Ghei finished third, a stroke behind, after a 67 while China's Liang Wen-chong grabbed fourth place with a 66 to return to the top of the Asian Tour's UBS Order of Merit.

Following unrelenting rain since Saturday, organisers reduced the Macau Open into a 54-hole affair and players eventually resumed their third and final rounds at 2.30pm. And the finish was a thriller indeed.

"I'm very excited with this win and on top of that, I'm very tired as well," said Lu, who picked up US$47,550 for his third Asian Tour title.

The experienced Lu charged to the front with birdies on the 13th, 16th and 18th holes for a three-round total of 12-under-par 201 but Moir tied with him with three birdies of his own. The play-off was a gripping affair with both players producing birdies in the first two holes before Moir struck a poor chip.

"I birdied the 18th four times today because I just went out there and tried my best. In the play-off, I'm stayed very consistent. It was hard. During the weather break, I kept my concentration as it was a really long day.

"I have a good short game and that's what I used to win the play-off. It was nice to see the last putt go in. I hope to win tournaments when I'm 54, I'm not going to give just yet," said Lu, whose previous two victories came via play-offs as well.

Moir thought he had Lu on the ropes in the first extra hole when he hit the green in two while Lu was 40 yards short of the green. But Lu responded with a superb chip to six feet for birdie. Both players birdied the 18th hole again but in the third extra hole, Moir left his chip short for par while Lu played another exquisite chip for a tap-in birdie.

Moir said: "I thought I had the win on the first play-off hole. But all credit to Lu, he played great, especially that up and down in the first play-off hole was fantastic. It's not easy holing those putts for a half."

After losing his Asian Tour card by finishing three rungs too low on the UBS Order of Merit last season, the Aussie was delighted to regain his best form. "I was stoked to be in the play-off, especially when I birdied the last two holes in regulation. I had to dig deep and I'm proud of myself. I can take a lot out for myself this week."

Ghei was bidding for his second straight tournament victory after his triumph in the Pine Valle Beijing Open last month but upon resumption of play this afternoon, he immediately dropped a bogey on the par five 12th hole.

"The waiting does disrupt a little," said Ghei. "However much you try to get into a rhythm, you sit around for five or six hours in the morning, it's tough to get off straight away and especially tough with a difficult first shot of the day. But that's the way it is.

"After that bogey on 12, I hit a lot of solid golf shots. I hit every green after that and missed birdie on 15 which I misread. On 17, I saw Lu had finished on 12 under and I had a 15 footer there and missed it as well but birdied the last. Sometimes, it's a matter of inches, winning or losing events."

Liang found consolation with his seventh top-10 of the year which saw him dislodge South African Anton Haig at the top of the UBS Order of Merit. "I was thinking about winning but during the wait, I wasn't sure if we could even finish 54 holes.

"It was mentally tough to get prepared to play with all the waiting. I missed the greens on the 16 and 17 and couldn't stay in contention," said Liang, winner of the Clariden Leu Singapore Masters earlier this season.

Two-time Macau Open champion Zhang Lian-wei of China finished fifth on 204 and became the 13th player to surpass US$1 million in career earnings on the Asian Tour. Title holder Kane Webber of Australia settled for a share of sixth place with Thailand's Thaworn Wiratchant and Lu Wei-chih of Chinese Taipei.

Leading third and final round scores

201 - Lu Wen-teh (TPE) 65-71-65, Richard Moir (AUS) 66-66-69

(Lu wins with a birdie on the third hole of a sudden-death play-off)

202 - Gaurav Ghei (IND) 65-70-67

203 - Liang Wen-chong (CHN) 69-68-66

204 - Zhang Lian-wei (CHN) 66-68-70

205 - Kane Webber (AUS) 68-72-65, Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 69-68-68, Lu Wei-chih (TPE) 71-70-64

206 - Simon Yates (SCO) 66-72-68, Mitchell Brown (AUS) 68-72-66, Hur In-hoi (KOR) 70-68-68, Gurbaaz Mann (IND) 73-63-70, Stephen Scahill (NZL) 70-66-70

207 - Brad Kennedy (AUS) 70-69-68, Leigh Mckechnie (AUS) 64-74-69, Danny Chia (MAS) 68-70-69, Panuwat Muenlek (THA) 69-71-67, Unho Park (AUS) 68-69-70, Digvijay Singh (IND) 67-74-66, Scott Strange (AUS) 67-69-71, Anthony Kang (USA) 65-69-73


The Macau Open is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Supported by the Macau Sport Development Board, the tournament will be staged at the scenic Macau Golf and Country Club from May 17-20. Former champions include England's Lee Westwood and Simon Dyson, China's Zhang Lian-wei, Scotland's Colin Montgomerie and last year's winner Kane Webber of Australia. The US$300,000 Macau Open is the 14th leg of this season's Asian Tour Schedule. The Asian Tour is the official regional sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia where it will offer a record 29 tournaments offering over US$28 million in total prize money this season.