(Reuters) – Taiwan’s Chan Shih-chang rolled in a four-foot par putt on the final hole to win the $1 million Blue Canyon Phuket Championship on Sunday as the Asian Tour returned to action for the first time in almost two years.
Chan pipped playing partner Sadom Kaewkanjana for the $180,000 first prize as he finished on 18-under for the tournament, one shot clear of the Thai golfer.
Sadom had looked set to take the tournament into a playoff but had his first dropped shot of the day when he missed a six-foot par putt on the last hole, dropping him into a share for second with South Korea’s Kim Joo-hyung.
Chan had started the day tied for the lead with Sihwan Kim from the United States and the American appeared to be cruising to the title despite starting his final round with a bogey.
Kim reached the 10th four-under for the day after a run of three successive birdies from the eighth and, at one point, he held a three-shot lead. That all changed on the back nine.
A bogey at the par-4 13th reduced Kim’s lead to a single stroke and by the time he had holed out at the 15th the 33-year-old was in a three-way tie with Sadom and Chan, who had pulled level on 17-under after both birdied the par-5.
Sadom and Chan then birdied the 16th to leave Kim adrift for the first time and a bogey at the par-3 17th meant he eventually finished in a four-way tie for fourth.
That turned the tournament into a final hole shootout and, after both Chan and Sadom missed the green with their approach shots, the Taiwanese golfer claimed the title when he rolled in his par putt following Sadom’s miss.
The event was the first on the Asian Tour since the Malaysian Open in March 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic.
It comes a month after the organisation announced it would be launching 10 new events in 2022 in partnership with LIV Golf Investments, a company backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, worth a total of $200 million.
(Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Tom Hogue)