Malaysian veteran Danny Chia ended a 13-year wait for his second Asian Tour title with a hard-fought victory in the Mercuries Taiwan Masters, prevailing in a nervy final round battle against China’s Liang Wen-chong.
The 42-year-old Chia closed with a 73 to finish on three-under-par 285 at Taiwan Golf & Country Club, two shots ahead of third round leader Liang whose challenge ended with bogeys on his last three holes.
“It’s been only 13 years! I felt really touched when I sank that winning putt but now, I am overwhelmed with joy. Actually, this win didn’t feel like a brand new start to my career. The time when I felt like I started anew was when I returned to competitive golf about a year after my neck surgery in 2013,” said Chia, who shed tears of joy after sinking the final putt.
Starting the round with a one-shot deficit, Chia fired three birdies in his opening five holes to take over the lead. He made his first bogey of the day on the par-four 11th and went on to drop shots on the 15th, 16th and 17th holes – but Liang’s own nervy finish saw the Malaysian seal the win with a tap-in par on the 18th.
“I was really nervous heading into the last five holes. I told myself not to think too much but I just can’t help it. I thought my hands were shaking but I am actually shaking inside my heart. I started to feel nervous when I first bogeyed the 11. I got me a little flustered on the back nine,” said Chia, who last won on the Asian Tour in 2002 also in Taiwan.
Despite having to rue a missed opportunity for a fourth Asian Tour victory, Liang held his head high and tipped his hat to Chia for his perseverance.
“Even though Danny got off to a strong start, I didn’t panicked because I know anything can happen as long as the round is still going on. It was hard to read the greens and surely a disappointing end to the round but I still enjoyed my game out there. Danny played really good. He has persevered for so long. I think he really deserves the win,” said the 37-year-old Liang.
Chia took home a winner’s prize purse of US$130,000 courtesy of his victory and propelled to eighth position on the Asian Tour Order of Merit with a season’s haul of US$188,138.
285 – Danny CHIA (MAS) 67-72-73-73.
287 – LIANG Wen-chong (CHN) 70-73-68-76.
289 – Adilson DA SILVA (BRA) 75-69-73-72, Rashid KHAN (IND) 68-70-75-76.
290 – Unho PARK (AUS) 75-69-76-70, HUNG Chien-yao (TPE) 74-72-72-72.
291 – Javi COLOMO (ESP) 75-74-73-69, LIN Wen-tang (TPE) 75-69-77-70, Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 73-73-74-71, Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) 69-74-75-73, SUNG Mao-chang (TPE) 73-77-68-73.