(Reuters) - China’s Liang Wenchong birdied the final hole to force a playoff with Thailand’s Prom Meesawat before going on to claim a third Asian Tour title at the inaugural Manila Masters on Sunday.
Prom’s bogey-free seven-under 65 in the final round took him to the top of the leaderboard as overnight leader Liang (69) fell back after a double-bogey on the ninth hole.
But the Chinese, who was struggling with fatigue and a hand injury, recovered on the back nine to pick up four strokes, including a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th, to match Prom on 16-under for the tournament.
“It has been a long time since I last came to the Philippines and a good five years since I last won on the Asian Tour,” Liang told reporters at the Resorts World Manila Masters.
”This is my sixth consecutive event already and I was actually kind of worn out coming to the Philippines early this week.
“Furthermore, I was still nursing an old hand injury which acted up again early this week. It got so bad the night after my first round that I even thought of withdrawing from the tournament. Luckily it got better after my visit to the physio.”
At the first playoff hole, the par-five 18th, Prom’s chances of victory disappeared when he found a terrible lie in a bunker with his second shot and was only able to flop the ball out a few meters.
Liang secured the title with a tap-in birdie after his eagle putt from the edge of the green stopped inches from the pin.
Canadian rookie Richard Lee carded the lowest round of the day of 64 to share third place with fellow Asian Tour rookie Carlos Pigem of Spain.
The $750,000 event went ahead despite the unprecedented disaster caused by Typhoon Haiyan, which killed thousands and displaced 670,000 people, leaving them with no access to food, water or medicine.
Liang did his part by donating half of his winner’s cheque of $135,000 to the Red Cross to help the victims.
Writing by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by John O'Brien