Mardan Creates History With Singapore Victory

Sun 12 Mar 2006

Mardan Creates History With Singapore Victory

Singapore, March 12: A tearful Mardan Mamat made history on Sunday when he lifted the US$1 million OSIM Singapore Masters by one stroke from title holder Nick Dougherty after a heroic final round performance on Sunday.

Mardan became the first local player to win the co-sanctioned Singapore Masters in the six-year history at Laguna National Golf and Country Club and also the first Singaporean winner on the European Tour.

A final round of one-under-par 71 took Mardan to 12-under-par 276 for a wire-to-wire victory as he stood firm against the spirited challenges of Dougherty, Charlie Wi of Korea and England’s Ross Fisher.

Victory earned the 38-year-old US$166,660, pushing him up to third place on the Asian Tour's UBS Order of Merit and also earned him a two year exemption to the European Tour.

“This is what I have dreamed of, to win as big a tournament as this in Singapore,” said Mardan. “It is the biggest achievement of my life. Things went my way this week. I hope I have inspired all the young Singaporeans to achieve what I have achieved. It is such a good feeling I cannot express it.”

Mardan started the final day one clear of Dougherty and when the 23 year old Englishman fell back with three dropped shots on the front nine, Mamat pulled further ahead.  Dougherty, in the manner of a true champion, clawed his way back into contention with some great play over the back nine before settling for a 71.

The Singaporean ace, riding on home support, turned in 36 after two opening birdies against just as many bogeys and kept ahead with some brave putts and a touch of luck. A tee shot to the par three 12 avoided a lake while he holed a crucial eight-foot par save on 14 before converting a 15-foot birdie on 15.

Dougherty missed a 10 foot putt for eagle on 15 and birdied the 16th to pull to two shots of Mardan. After both players made par saves on the par three 17th, the most difficult hole on the course, Dougherty turned on the pressure by making birdie on 18.

Mardan held his nerve, getting up and down from thick rough at the back of the green to secure a memorable one stroke win. After tapping in for par, he broke down in tears, realising the magnitude of his achievement as his family members join in the celebration on the 18th green.

"I just kept myself relaxed and focused on what I wanted to do. That was the key to my success. I pushed it (tee shot on 12) a bit to the right and I was so lucky that the ball stayed on the edge of the green. After the ball landed on the green, I just laughed so loud," said Mardan.

"I knew Nick would make birdie on the last but I just told myself to make a four and get out of here although the ball was buried in the rough. To win this, it's a dream come true for me. It's very hard to get yourself in this sort of position, leading from the first round was tough. Only god knows what I felt inside."

Dougherty said. “It just all went horribly wrong for me on the front nine. I fought back well but it was not enough in the end. Mardan finished off very well. It is tough to hold off a bunch of us and I think he did himself proud today.

"I was the favourite and if I had played to my potential I would have won. He did well to hang on in the end to win.”

Wi, winner of the Maybank Malaysian Open last month, also threatened but ultimately came up two short after signing off with a 71. The Korean missed two short putts on the 10th and 11th for birdies and his hopes vanished after he bogeyed 17th by missing the green.

"You know, I had my chances. I hit it to three feet on 10 and four feet on 11. You got to make those to put pressure on Mardan but he played really solid. I can't take that away from him. When you win, you have to make those clutch putts. I was just disappointed," said Wi, the current leader of the UBS Order of Merit.

Thailand's Chapchai Nirat finished tied fifth on 279 with England's Jonathan Lomas after closing with a 71 while India's Jyoti Randhawa was equal seventh after a 68, a further stroke back.

Last year's Asian Tour number one Thaworn Wiratchant signed off with a 67, his best of the week, for tied 13th place with amongst others Wang Ter-chang and Lu Wei-chih, both of Chinese Taipei.

Crowds at the OSIM Singapore Masters 2006Leading final round scores

276 - Mardan Mamat (SIN) 65-70-70-71

277 - Nick Dougherty (ENG) 69-70-67-71

278 - Ross Fisher (ENG) 71-68-68-71, Charlie Wi (KOR) 69-73-65-71

279 - Jonathan Lomas (ENG) 71-74-68-66, Chapchai Nirat (THA) 73-69-66-71

281 - Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 74-68-71-68, Andrew Butterfield (ENG) 74-69-66-72

282 - Marcus Both (AUS) 68-68-77-69, Marcus Fraser (AUS) 65-76-70-71, Anders Hansen (DEN) 69-74-66-73, Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 67-69-74-72

283 - Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 76-68-72-67, Ahmad Bateman (CAN) 70-69-74-70, Francois Delamontagne (FRA) 71-70-72-70, Wang Ter-chang (TPE) 72-70-71-70, Lu Wei-chih (TPE) 69-72-71-71, Peter Hanson (SWE) 70-69-72-72, Joakim Haeggman (SWE) 72-70-69-72, Wade Ormsby (AUS) 67-71-72-73

284 - Keith Horne (RSA) 72-72-71-69, Stuart Little (ENG) 71-69-72-72, Simon Yates (SCO) 72-71-69-72, Prom Meesawat (THA) 73-71-67-73

285 - Liang Wen-Chong (CHN) 73-72-70-70, Chris Rodgers (ENG) 72-70-71-72, Anthony Kang (USA) 75-70-67-73, Danny Chia (MAS) 75-68-68-74