Australian players have fallen just short of making it two wins in successive weeks in Asia.
Asian Tour rookie and former amateur star Cameron Smith and Scott Barr tied for fourth at the Selangor Masters in Malaysia on Sunday, just four shots off the pace set by Thai winner Chapchai Nirat who beat Filipino Antonio Lascuna in a play-off for the title.
Smith had opened with rounds of 68-66 but faded on the weekend, shooting 71-73 to finish on 278 while Barr rocketed onto the leader board on Sunday after a final round 67.
However despite dropping out of contention for the win Smith has consolidated his position as the leading Australian on the 2014 Asian Tour money list, in 11th position.
Nirat calmly holed a metre long putt to beat veteran Lascuna in the first play-off hole.
Big-hitting Chapchai, who is nicknamed ‘King Kong’, held his nerve at the Seri Selangor Golf Club to secure his fourth Asian Tour victory, ending a five-year title drought in the $410,000 event.
The 43-year-old Lascuna charged into contention with a masterful 63 to tie Chapchai, who closed with a 68 which included two finishing bogeys, on 10-under-par 274. The Thai then sealed the win when Lascuna’s missed his par putt from two metres in extra time.
Smith and Barr were out to emulate Victorian David McKenzie’s success the previous week.
McKenzie won his second tournament of the inaugural PGA Tour China Series season with a two shot victory over fellow Australian Bryden Macpherson at the Cadillac Championship at the Beijing Qinghe Bay Golf Club in Beijing.
The victory earned the veteran $20,000 and moved him into second spot on the China Tour money list behind China’s Xin Jun Zhang who, mysteriously, was this week disqualified for the signing of an incorrect scorecard for the second time this season.
Zhang has, however, won once and been twice runner-up.
“This was not as easy as the last one,” McKenzie said. “This one was much more unexpected as I wasn’t playing as well this week as I was the other week I won."
The leading five players at the end of the season earn playing rights on the Web.Com Tour next season although only the leading money winner will enjoy fully exempt status.
Scott Laycock was the next best of the Australians when he finished fourth while Brett Drewitt continued his great season when he tied for fifth.
Aaron Townsend was the other Australian to finish inside the top 10 at eighth.
The China Tour has another four more events on the 2014 season, the next of which will be played in two weeks.
Meanwhile, Victoria’s Cameron Percy will return to the US PGA Tour for a fourth stint after securing one of 25 tour cards up for grabs over the secondary tour’s regular season.
The 40-year-old finished 14th on the money list after the final regular season event, making his charge by winning the Highland Springs CC Championship.
Percy makes 11 fully exempt Australians on the US PGA tour for 2014-15 led by world No.2 Adam Scott, Jason Day, John Senden, Marc Leishman, Stuart Appleby, Steven Bowditch, Matt Jones, Aaron Baddeley, Robert Allenby and Geoff Ogilvy.
By: Robert Grant