03 October 2022: Chan Shih-chang claimed the US$1million Mercuries Taiwan Masters today, to finally win an Asian Tour event on home soil for the first time, but only after a titanic battle with India’s Rashid Khan. The Chinese-Taipei star beat Khan on the second hole of a sudden-death play-off at Taiwan Golf and Country Club, incredibly, after coming from three shots behind with five to play before making birdie three times on the par-four 18th.
A brilliant nine-foot birdie putt saw him secure the title, after Khan had missed his birdie attempt from 20 feet, while Chan holed a 21-foot putt for birdie on the first extra hole, before Khan made his from two feet. Chan sensationally forced the play-off when he holed a nine-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole as Khan agonisingly missed his birdie chance from six feet.
Both players carded four-under-par 68s to finish on 15 under and beat the previous best tournament total – set by Chinese-Taipei’s Tsai Chi-huang’s in 2002 – by one shot.
Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman and Sarit Suwannarut from Thailand tied for third, six shots back after both carding 71s.
“Really happy to win my first Asian Tour title at home. I have always wanted to do this. To be honest, it’s really pressurising. My friends, sponsors and family were out there supporting me today,” said the 36-year-old Chan, who won US$200,000 and moved into 10th place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
The Chinese-Taipei star started his come from behind win with a birdie on the 15th, before his Indian opponent dropped a shot on the penultimate hole to set up the thrilling showdown on the last.
“This is my first time playing in the final group in my many years of playing in this tournament. I just keep telling myself to stay calm and stick to my game plan and stay positive out there,” he added.
This is Chan’s fifth victory on the Asian Tour and third in 10 months: he won the Blue Canyon Phuket Championship at the end of November last year, which was the Asian Tour’s first event back after a two-month break caused by the pandemic; and he won in Thailand again this year at the Royal’s Cup in February. He was also victorious in the King’s Cup in Thailand in 2016 and two months later the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup in Japan.
He also tied third here last year and equal second the year before, when on both occasions the event wasn’t on the Asian Tour schedule because of travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The win also maintained his one hundred percent record in play-offs, as he has won two on the Asian Development Tour and one on the Taiwan PGA circuit.
Two-time Asian Tour winner Khan was in search of his first Asian Tour title in eight years, with both of his previous successes coming in 2014, at the SAIL-SBI Open in India, and the Chiangmai Golf Classic, in Thailand.
He had a one-shot lead at the turn and after a birdie on 10 and 13 he looked a safe bet for the title.
“It was going really well, just that I knew the last four holes are crucial,” said Khan, who also three-putted the par-five 15th having reached the green in two.
“I hit a good shot on the 15th hole, but I ended up missing it on the side of the green where I haven’t practiced. And I had no idea about the read at all. So, I three putted and that’s where you know … because last two holes are not so easy to play.
“On the 17th hole I got a little hurried, hit a good shot and I thought it’s gonna be fine on the left side of the green, but it ended up being just over the bunker in the rough. And you know, I thought the green is slow from the front, but it wasn’t, and I missed it like 15 feet past the pin.”
Rahman, who last won on the Asian Tour at the Hero Indian Open in 2013, was thrilled with his best finish for some time.
He said: “Oh, it was a wonderful day, I just couldn’t putt well today, rest of the game was excellent. Just because of putting I couldn’t make a better score, but, overall, I’m happy about my round.”
The result will also allow him to keep his playing privileges for next season.
“That’s a big relief for me because I was really struggling from the beginning of this year. I mean, and now I just finished tied third, so I think I have secured my card for next year. Definitely, I will be able to play without tension,” he added.
The Asian Tour heads to the International Series Morocco next from Royal Golf Dar Es Salam from November 3-6.
Scores after round 4 of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters 2022 being played at the par 72, 6923 Yards Tamsui Course course (am – denotes amateur):
273 – Chan Shih-chang (TPE) 68-68-69-68, Rashid Khan (IND) 67-65-73-68.
279 – Siddikur Rahman (BAN) 70-69-69-71, Sarit Suwannarut (THA) 67-73-68-71.
281 – Danthai Boonma (THA) 72-66-75-68, Nitithorn Thippong (THA) 67-69-73-72, Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA) 69-69-71-72.
282 – Veer Ahlawat (IND) 69-72-69-72, Yeh Yu-chen (TPE) 70-70-69-73.
283 – Shiv Kapur (IND) 68-73-71-71, Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA) 68-71-72-72, Wang Wei-hsiang (TPE) 66-70-74-73.
284 – Huang Chi (TPE) 74-67-72-71, Scott Strange (AUS) 68-72-71-73.
285 – S.S.P. Chawrasia (IND) 71-71-73-70, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (THA) 73-67-72-73, Aman Raj (IND) 73-72-67-73.
286 – Hung Chien-yao (TPE) 67-75-74-70, Ian Snyman (RSA) 73-71-71-71, Kevin Yuan (AUS) 71-70-73-72.
287 – Jack Harrison (ENG) 73-73-73-68, Ratchanon Chantananuwat (am, THA) 70-73-74-70, Chang Wei-lun (TPE) 72-72-72-71, Nicholas Fung (MAS) 72-73-70-72, Berry Henson (USA) 71-73-70-73, Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND) 73-68-72-74.
288 – Lu Chien-soon (TPE) 74-72-70-72, Adilson Da Silva (BRA) 73-71-71-73.
289 – Viraj Madappa (IND) 73-72-73-71, Honey Baisoya (IND) 71-69-76-73, Khalin Joshi (IND) 73-69-74-73, S. Chikkarangappa (IND) 70-74-72-73, Donlaphatchai Niyomchon (THA) 67-71-77-74, Poom Pattaropong (THA) 74-71-70-74.