Murillo breaks through in Bali

Venezuelan Wolmer Murillo survived a five-way play-off to win his maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) title at the US$100,000 Combiphar Players Championship in Bali, Indonesia.

The 36-year-old Murillo was the last man standing against Taiwan’s Wang Wei-lun, South African Mathiam Keyser, American John Catlin and William Harrold of England after they were tied on seven-under-par 277 in regulation play at the New Kuta Golf Club.

The play-off on the par-four ninth hole saw Catlin, Harrold and Keyser bow out on the first extra hole after making bogeys. Murillo sealed the deal with a six-foot birdie putt on the fourth extra hole to defeat Wang, who parred the same hole.

Murillo, who held the overnight lead by one, traded one birdie against two bogeys to turn in 36. He added two more birdies on 10 and 13 but an errant tee shot saw him rue a costly double-bogey on 17. The Venezuelan, however, bounced back brilliantly with a seven-feet birdie putt on the last to close with an even-par 71 and ensure a spot in the play-off.

“I didn’t even know I was going into a play-off. After I made the double-bogey on 17, I thought I should try and birdie the last to grab the second place. I just kept it going out there and stick to my own rhythm. I didn’t really feel way nervous. I just stayed focused and kept my composure,” said the Thailand-based Murillo.

Murillo took home the winner’s prize purse of US$17,500 and received six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. He also moved up to 11th place on the ADT Order of Merit, led by Masaru Takahashi of Japan, who signed for a 70 to end his campaign in tied-sixth position.

“This win means everything to me. It’s my first win since coming to Asia in 2013. It took me more than four years to win. It’s really special because the ADT is where I began my career after moving to Asia. It has been a great week here in Bali,” noted Murillo, who used to be based at Saujana Golf & Country Club in Kuala Lumpur before moving to Hua Hin, Thailand.

With this victory, Murillo became the first Venezuelan to win on the region’s secondary circuit, which was inaugurated in 2010 as a gateway to the premier Asian Tour. The leading five players on the final Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn their Asian Tour cards for the 2018 season.

Results (Top 10 and ties):

277 – Wolmer MURILLO (VEN) 71 69 66 71, WANG Wei-lun (TWN) 73 68 69 67, Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 70 67 72 68, John CATLIN (USA) 72 67 70 68, William HARROLD (ENG) 71 71 67 68

278 – Michael BIBAT (PHI) 71 70 69 68, Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN) 70 70 68 70

279 – Steve LEWTON (ENG) 69 68 72 70

281 – George GANDRANATA (INA) 73 71 70 67, Jakraphan PREMSIRIGORN (THA) 69 75 67 70

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