Kiradech Aphibarnrat moves from five shots ahead to two shots behind to ultimate victory at the Shenzhen International
Kiradech Aphibarnrat has won the inaugural Shenzhen International tournament after defeating Chinese teenager Li Hao-Tong in a play-off.
Li Hao-Tong had finished his fourth round in a five-under-par 67. This meant that overnight leader, Kiradech Aphibarnrat had to complete his final holes in at least two under to retain in contention.
It was quite a reversal for someone who had been leading by five shots at one stage on the Saturday.
The portents for the 25-year-old Thai golfer were not good standing on the 71st tee. In the third round he had double-bogeyed the par-5 17th and then bogeyed the 18th.
The only time he had beaten par on either of these two holes over the three previous days had been on the 17th in the first round.
But he eagled the par-5 17th and then sent his tee shot on 18 into a bunker.
But his approach shot from the bunker found the middle of the green. Then his birdie putt slipped past, setting up a play-off back down the 18th.
Aphibarnrat won this witha birdie on the first extra hole. Both found the green in regulation, but Li Hao-Tong was 40ft away. Aphibarnrat was only 12ft away with about exactly the same line as his missed birdie putt 20 minutes earlier.
This time he did not miss after Li Hao-Tong had taken two putts to get down.
It was Aphibarnrat’s second win on the European Tour, following on from his
2013 Maybank Malaysian Open triumph.
The final day leaderboard was very tight with 24 players being covered by three shots at one point. Only two shots covered the final top 8 positions.
Tommy Fleetwood finished alone in third place after failing to sink a 60ft putt on the 72nd hole to get into the play-off. He finished one shot ahead of a seven-way tie for fourth place.
Genzon Golf Club, Shenzhen, China
April 16-19, 2015, purse: $2,500,000, par 72
1 Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 67 69 68 72 276
2 Li Hao-Tong Li (Chn) 71 73 65 67 276
3 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 70 69 69 69 277
T4 Marco Crespi (Ita) 69 70 72 67 278
T4 David Howell (Eng) 71 70 69 68 278
T4 Tom Lewis (Eng) 72 71 66 69 278
T4 Julien Quesne (Fra) 71 69 73 65 278
T4 Peter Uihlein (USA) 67 68 71 72 278
T4 YE. Yang (Kor) 72 71 66 69 278
T4 Wen-Yi Huang (Chn) 74 70 68 278
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage