Manila [THE PHILIPPINES]: Nicholas Fung’s agonising wait for his maiden breakthrough on the Asian Tour continued after the Malaysian star fell in extra time at the Resorts World Manila Masters on Sunday.
The 26-year-old did not put a wrong foot forward as he closed out with five straight birdies for a sizzling 63, setting the clubhouse target on 19-under at the Manila Southwoods Golf & Country Club.
His four-day total was matched by American Sam Chien (65) and India’s SSP Chawrasia, who finished regulation play with a flawless 66.
But the thrill of a first victory on the region’s premier circuit quickly turned to anguish of defeat as Fung missed his birdie attempt on the first extra hole to exit the contest.
Chawrasia would go on to birdie the next play-off hole to emerge victorious for the first time outside his native India.
Fung admitted that the defeat was a bitter pill to swallow, having previously finished second at the Indonesian Open (2013) and the World Classic Championship (2015).
“It’s obviously a bitter feeling because it’s the third time that I’m playing second fiddle on Asian Tour. A play-off is always a lottery and maybe, I just ran out of luck at the end but it’ll be my time very soon,” said a dejected Fung, who nonetheless picked up his biggest paycheque of the season worth US$86,500.
The runaway domestic Order of Merit leader admitted that he didn’t expect to make a title charge, having started the final round six strokes off the pace.
“I didn’t expect myself to finish the round with five straight birdies in a row. I was only at three-under at the turn. So it was really unbelievable when I start to sink in those birdies from the 14th hole.I started the day so far down the leaderboard and I was telling myself there’s nothing to lose. And I should just go out and enjoy myself. That’s why I did so well today,” added Fung, who moves up to a career high 14th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
Leading final results (Par-72) >
269 – S.S.P Chawrasia (IND) 68-64-71-66, Nicholas Fung (MAS) 66-69-71-63, Sam Chien (USA) 74-65-65-65
270 – Shubhankar Sharma (IND) 69-70-69-62, Chiragh Kumar (IND) 67-70-69-64, Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 64-65-74-67
271 – Michael Tran (VNM) 67-66-71-67, Hung Chien-yao (TPE) 65-71-68-67, Sutijet Kooratanapisan (THA) 65-66-69-71
272 – Danthai Boonma (THA) 64-72-73-63, Jbe Kruger (RSA) 69-67-67-69, Terry Pilkadaris (AUS) 66-70-67-69