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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2007 > European Tour > Singapore Masters > Round 4
 

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Liang Wen-Chong wins in playoff

China's Liang Wen-Chong held his nerve in a sudden-death playoff to edge out Malaysia's Iain Steel for the biggest victory of his career at the joint-sanctioned Singapore Masters on Sunday.

Liang completed a routine par-four on the 18th, the first extra hole, after Steel had found the water with his tee-shot to virtually hand his opponent victory at the $1.1 million European and Asian Tour event.

The 28-year-old's maiden victory outside China ensured he became the second player from his country to win on the European Tour, emulating Zhang Lian-wei, who captured the same event in 2003.

"I feel honoured to do what Zhang has done, hopefully it will inspire young Chinese players to try and copy us," Liang said in a television interview.

As well as $183,000 in prize money, Liang has also earned a two-year exemption to play on the European Tour.

"I will donate all of my prize money to help develop the sport in China," Liang told reporters.

"I realise the European Tour is the second biggest in the world, so I will definitely play some events there. Although I was not expecting to win here and have not made plans as to when and where I will compete."

On a day when several players held and lost the lead, Liang and Steel finished the tournament on 11-under-par, a stroke clear of Britain's Simon Dyson, who was alone in third place after missing a 20-foot birdie attempt at the 18th by inches.

Frenchman Jean Van de Velde and Britons David Lynn, Anthony Wall and 2005 champion Nick Dougherty ended the tournament in a tie for fourth place on nine under par.

After a closing 73, Liang was first to tee off in the playoff and his drive sailed safely up the middle of the fairway, putting the pressure firmly on Steel, who pulled his first shot straight into the water hazard running up the left side of the hole.

His second drive found the right side of the fairway and he almost found the water again with his fourth shot as he attacked a difficult pin position, landing his approach around 15 feet from the hole on the edge of the green.

Liang opted for a safe approach, knowing that two putts would win the title, and his second shot found the middle of the green around 30 feet from the hole.

The 35-year-old Steel missed his bogey putt, leaving Liang three putts for victory and after his first attempt rolled four feet past the hole, he drained his next before raising his arms in exhausted triumph.

Starting his round in a tie with Britain's Gary Lockerbie for the lead, Liang covered the front nine in par 36, but could do nothing to stop Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee from storming into the lead with four birdies in his opening five holes. 

India's Jyoti Randhawa replaced Thongchai at the top of the leaderboard after the former paratrooper bogeyed four out of five holes from the 10th.

Dougherty was next to make his move, with four birdies in six holes taking him to 13-under with three to play. Disaster struck for the 24-year-old at the 16th, however, and back-to-back double bogeys ended his chances of a second title here in three years.

Steel had remained in touch throughout the day and led by two strokes with three holes to play as one-by-one the leaders dropped shots in the closing stages.

A three-putt double-bogey on the par-four 16th dropped him back into tie for the lead and he was left to regret a missed 15-foot birdie putt on the last that would have given him the title.

"I should have finished it off earlier," said Steel, who fired a one-under-par 71.

"On the 16th, I hit a tree out of the right rough and then misjudged the chip. I should not have three-putted from there... I did not execute, simple as that."

 

 




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