Liao beats Zhang to win first OCT title(3)
With Liao bogeying the hole, Zhang took the lead with a par, but the 42-year-old then dropped a shot after going into a greenside bunker on the par-three 17th and walked to the final hole level with Liao and one ahead of Su.
Both leaders parred the last after narrowly missing their birdie putts and it looked as though they’d be joined in the play-off by Su, who followed a booming drive with a stunning approach to four feet. However, he had to pull away from his first address due to the noise from a nearby camera, and the crowd’s reaction matched his own despair after he missed with his rushed second attempt.
“I don’t know what I’m feeling,” said Su, who was consoled by hordes of fans, caddies and media eager for photos and autographs. “I’m sure I will face more important putts like I had today. After all, this is not the end of my golf career; it’s just the beginning.”
Su also finished third in last month’s Kunming Championship, but his final-round showdown with Liao and Zhang, his mentor and good friend, has taken his self-belief to a new level.
“Finishing third here is very different from finishing third in Kunming. After this week, I feel much more confident about my game and feel like I belong here and can compete on this Tour,“ said Su, one of China’s ‘new generation’ of teenage stars with 18-year-old Hu Mu and 16-year-old Benny Ye Jianfeng. “If I had made the play-off, I feel confident I could have won it, but I have many more chances ahead of me.”
Ernst Zimmermann, Vice-President of Sofitel Greater China, echoed the sentiments of many when he announced: “We all owe a big thank you to these three players, who all deserved to win.”
Chinese Taipei’s Tsai Chi-huang, Ryan Huang Yonghuan and He Shaocai finished tied fourth on three-under, one ahead of Li Chao and Shang Lei.