Chan wears down Bowen for Sabah victory

Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei
Chan Shih-chang lifts the PGM-UMW Sabah Classic trophy © Arep Kulal/PGM

Kota Kinabalu: Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei claimed a dramatic victory at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) UMW Sabah Classic when he defeated James Bowen of the United States on the third extra hole on Saturday.

Chan, who closed with the day’s lowest score of five-under-par 67, went the distance with Bowen after both of them tied on seven-under-par 281 in regulation play at the RM180,000 (approximately US$60,000) ADT event.

Bowen bowed out on his third attempt to settle for second while Singapore’s Mitchell Slorach finished third with a closing 69 to mark his best finish on the ADT this season at the Sabah Golf and Country Club.

Nicholas Fung, the highest-ranked golfer in Malaysia, took fourth place after signing for a 71 while compatriot Airil Rizman and Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert shared fifth on matching 284s after rounds of 69 and 71 respectively. Overnight leader, Lindsay Renolds of Canada, posted a disappointing 80 to end his campaign in tied 18th position.

Chan, who has struggled to find a rhythm this year, was delighted with his maiden ADT win – exacting sweet revenge on Bowen, who had beat him to the title by two shots at the Jakarta Classic in July.

“It’s my very first win on the ADT. I’m really happy. I’ve not been playing well since the start of the year. This win really boosted my confident!” exclaimed a motivated Chan, who returned with a flawless round highlighted by five birdies.

“It’s been a good week in Sabah. I never thought of winning or being in contention! I guess you play better when you don’t think so much about winning. I would like to thank my family and sponsors especially Emmet Hsu, Yeangder Group chairman for his continuous support,” added the 27-year-old, who took home the winner’s prize purse of US$9,400 and moved to eighth position on the ADT Order of Merit.

Bowen narrowly missed out on claiming a third ADT victory this season but was glad to dislodged Iain Steel at the top of the Order of Merit. “I had a solid round. I’m disappointed for not winning in the playoff but I’m happy to be back on top of the ADT Order of Merit again. It has been a great week here in Sabah and I enjoyed myself a lot,” said the American, who marked his card with four birdies against two bogeys.

“I’ll be heading back to Bangkok and continue practising with my coach and refine my game. Hopefully I can secure another win before the season ends,” added the 27-year-old American.

Leading final round scores
281 – Chan Shih-Chang (Tpe) 72-70-72-67, James Bowen (US) 71-74-66-70
Chan wins on third extra hole
282 – Mitchell Slorach (Sin) 75-70-68-69
283 – Nicholas Fung (Mas) 70-70-72-71
284 – Airil Rizman Zahari (Mas) 71-74-70-69, Pavit Tangkamolprasert (Tha) 74-68-71-71
285 – Shaaban Hussin (Mas) 67-73-77-68, Jakraphan Premsirigorn (Tha) 72-70-73-70, Steve Lewton (Eng) 75-69-71-70, M. Sasidaran (Mas) 69-72-71-73, Wolmer Murillo (Ven) 71-71-70-73
286 – Michael Tran (Vie) 74-72-68-72