Tamsui, Chinese Taipei, October 1: Gavin Green of Malaysia shed his bridesmaid tag by winning his first Asian Tour title at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Sunday, and dedicated the win to his late grandfather.
After finishing runner-up three times this year, Green closed with a one-under-par 71 to pull off a style two-shot victory at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club.
He finished with a winning total of nine-under-par 279 to defeat his closest challengers Adilson Da Silva (69) of Brazil, Scott Vincent (70) of Zimbabwe, Keith Horne (71) of South Africa and overnight leader Juvic Pagunsan (74) of the Philippines.
Green was delighted to taste success and overcome the heartbreak in Korea where he finished second and was later informed that his grandfather, Gerald Green, passed away from a heart-attack.
He made amends at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters where he was tied at one point with Vincent and Horne. But as his competitors faded, the young Malaysian birdied 16 and closed with two pars to cruise to victory.
The big-hitting Malaysia took home a prize purse of US$160,00 for his victory and overtook Scott Hend of Australia as the Order of Merit leader.
Did you know?
- Green closed with four birdies against three bogeys. He held his nerve to hold a crucial six-feet birdie on the 16th hole and made an important up-and-down for par from the bunker on 17.
- Horne and Vincent battled tooth-and-nail but disappointing bogeys on 18 dashed their title hopes.
- Green is now the fifth Malaysian after Danny Chia, Airil Rizman, Ben Leong and Nicholas Fung to win on the Asian Tour. This is the first time two Malaysians won in the same year. Fung won in Thailand in June.
- It was a winning debut for Green at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club. He also becomes only the second Malaysian to win the Mercuries Taiwan Masters after Chia’s win in 2015.
- Green had earlier finished runner-up at the Hero Indian Open, Yeangder Heritage in Chinese Taipei and Shinhan Donghae Open in Korea.
- With the win, Green leaps to the top of the Order of Merit with earnings of US$527,346. He is now in the running to become the first Malaysian to win the accolade.
- Scott Vincent is the only Zimbabwean in the elite field. His tied runner-up finish was his best result in 2017. He continues his search for his first Asian Tour victory.
- Keith Horne’s birdie on 18 to force a play-off narrowly sailed past the hole. He missed his par putt from close range. The second place result is his best finish on the Asian Tour.
- Pagunsan, the only Filipino to win the Order of Merit, struggled on the greens. He made 35 putts, his highest this week. His 10-year title drought on the Asian Tour continues.
Gavin Green (Mas) – Final Round 71 (-1), Total 279 (-9)
It is a bit overwhelming to be honest with you. Part of it is because my grandfather played a huge part in my life and he wanted to see me win. I told everybody earlier this week that it would be huge if I won this week for him.
A lot of good players in the top-five were so close. Everybody was close until the end. We were all trying to push each other. It is a huge deal that the win came at this point in time. It will not come at a better time even though mum and dad are not here. They are busing helping grandma.
I bogeyed hole nine and 10 because of poor tee shots but I told myself that I was still in it. I stayed patient and took my chances. I hit it to seven feet on the 13th hole but missed my eagle putt. I gave myself a lot of looks so that’s good.
When I got to 16 I thought of playing the safe game but my caddy and I decided to stick to the game plan and got up and down for birdie. That was a huge birdie. I wasn’t confident with my line so I backed off and went with it. It was from six feet.
I didn’t know what the score was on 18. I knew I was close so I stayed to my game plan. While I was walking up the 18th green, I saw that I had a nice lead.
The defeat in Korea was hard on me. I was trying so hard but this is the game of golf. You can’t force it. After my grandad passed, I knew the win might happen this week or within this year. Before his death I didn’t think it will come this year.
He really wanted to see me win and I really tried to win it for him in Korea. I didn’t and he passed away. It was tough because he was in Malaysia. I think his death pushed me to try harder and win. He was definitely with me today.
Juvic Pagunsan (Phi) – Final Round 74 (+2), Total 281 (-7)
My putting let me down and you can’t do that in the final round. I’m hitting the ball solid so that’s the only positive thing I can take out from this week. I played with Gavin Green and his power off the tees is amazing. I think he has the potential to play on the PGA Tour.
Keith Horne (Rsa) – Final Round 71 (-1), Total 281 (-7)
It was a surprisingly good week and I manged to secure my Asian Tour card for next year so that was my first goal. I can’t complain about that. It was very disappointing on the last hole where I three-putted. I think that cost me about US$50k. It is amazing how that can happen until the last hole. It was nice to play solid all week. I putted a lot of better this week as well.
Scott Vincent (Zim) – Final Round 70 (-2), Total 281 (-7)
It was a great experience. It is my first time coming here. The layout is amazing and the greens are challenging but you knew that coming into the week. You had to be patient out there and not get mad when you miss short putts.
All in all I played really well. I played an amazing round on Saturday. That was probably the best round in my life. Today I started slow and had a bad shot on the fifth hole (double bogey). I bounced back with five straight birdies and got myself back into contention.
I wanted to win too badly but I’m happy to be in those positions and deal with the pressure. I can only get better from that.
Scores after round 4 of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters 2017 being played at the par 72, 6923 Yards Tamsui Course course (am - denotes amateur):
279 - Gavin GREEN (MAS) 67-70-71-71.
281 - Adilson DA SILVA (BRA) 71-68-73-69, Scott VINCENT (ZIM) 69-76-66-70, Keith HORNE (RSA) 70-68-72-71, Juvic PAGUNSAN (PHI) 68-69-70-74.
283 - Danthai BOONMA (THA) 68-72-71-72.
285 - Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 68-72-75-70, Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 73-73-69-70, Arjun ATWAL (IND) 73-71-70-71, Ben LEONG (MAS) 71-69-71-74.
286 - Settee PRAKONGVECH (THA) 65-73-78-70.
287 - Yikeun CHANG (KOR) 71-74-72-70, Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 74-69-73-71, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 73-71-71-72.
288 - LU Chien-soon (TPE) 75-72-69-72.
289 - LU Wen-teh (TPE) 71-72-73-73, Nicholas FUNG (MAS) 70-75-71-73, Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 70-71-73-75.
290 - LIANG Wen-chong (CHN) 74-73-72-71, Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) 71-73-74-72, Chikkarangappa S. (IND) 70-71-76-73.
291 - Danny CHIA (MAS) 71-75-75-70.