Wang creates Asian history with Qatar Masters glory

 29 Jan 2017 - 18:13

Wang creates Asian history with Qatar Masters glory
South Korea's Wang Jeungh poses with a cheque bearing his prize after winning the Qatar Masters golf tournament at the Doha Golf Club in Doha on January 29, 2017. (AFP / KARIM JAAFAR)

By Rizwan Rehmat / The Peninsula

DOHA: Rising Korean golf star and overnight leader Jeunghun Wang yesterday edged Joakim Lagergren and Jaco Van Zyl in a play-off battle to lift the Qatar Masters title in his maiden appearance in Doha.

It was the first time in the tournament's 20-year history that an Asian player had nailed the Mother of Pearl trophy.

The 21-year-old juggled with the chasing pack on the back nine at the Doha Golf Club (DGC) where he produced a winning birdie on the last hole in the play-off battle.

Wang yesterday strutted with a couple of bogeys - on holes 14 and 17 - to card 1 under par 71 that forced him into a play-off battle with Lagergren and Van Zyl.

It was Wang's third win on the European Tour since last year.

Lagergren (66) yesterday produced another consistent performance firing seven birdies while Van Zyl - the 28-year-old from South Africa - remained steady with a score of 68 to share a three-way overall card of 16 under par 272.

Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera - thanks to an eagle on hole 16 - shared the fourth spot with South Africa's Thomas Aiken.

Lorenzo-Vera (66) and Aiken (68) ended their Qatar Masters campaign with an overall score of 15 under par 273. Aiken and Lorenzo-Vera finished with a shot clear of Spanish pair Rafa Cabrera Bello and Nacho Elvira, and Englishman Jordan Smith.

Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat and England's Nathan Kimsey completed the top 10 at 13 under.

Wang presented a broad smile at the prize distribution ceremony.

"(It) feels really fantastic for me. It's really, really great. I'm so happy," Wang said. "I just wanted to play (the) playoff and I got 18th hole, the last hole," he added.

About his coming events this season, Wang said: "I just don't want to get any pressure this year. (I) just want to learn from the other players. I just want to keep winning I hope."

Wang admitted he was a victim of nerves when playing the back nine.

"I was really nervous at the back nine. I missed a lot of greens," Wang said. "But my chipping was really good today. So I saved everything. Finally I won," he added.

"I just want to try to make (the) birdie at the last (hole). I didn't think about anything. I just want to try to make birdie," he said.

"I've really got a lot of confidence right now. I just want to play another tournament," he said.

Lagergren sounded dejected after finish second.

"(I) can't complain about the second place, but obviously a lot of disappointment right now," Lagergren said.

"I played really well today. I played a lot of good golf, definitely.

"I would have taken 6-under before the day, definitely. (I) played well. I lost in a playoff. Nothing to say about it really. I knew before I was hitting -- before we went to the tee box there, you need to make birdie here to win it.

"I was hitting 4-iron down in that bunker, so it's a tough shot from there," he said.

Van Zyl said starting the last round well was key to the thrilling finish yesterday.

"The star was really important. An unfortunate 3-putt on 6 kind of put a damper on things a little bit. I kind of just lingered along until I made a nice one on 13. Just unfortunately I hit a couple of good putts that just didn't go in," he said.

"The back nine was playing really tough. The wind came up and it was really challenging.

"It's a good start to the season, and a little bit more fireworks, so hopefully it continues," he said.

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