Date: November 23, 2008

Strong finish for Gleeson

Australian David Gleeson finished off the Hong Kong Open strongly but fell three strokes short of eventual winner Lin Wen-tang after the final round. Gleeson, who started the day in equal ninth spot, finished the tournament in equal sixth position after he recorded a fourth-round four-under-par 66 to take his overall tally to 12-under 268. A quartet comprising of Darren Beck, Mark Brown, Gavin Flint and Marcus Fraser were the next-best Australasians in a share of 34th spot on five-under. However, Chinese Taipei&aposs Lin edged a thrilling play-off against Northern Ireland&aposs Rory McIlroy to capture the title and secure his first victory on the European Tour. The Asian Tour regular had failed to sink a birdie putt from six feet on the last during regulation to enter a three-way play-off with McIlroy and Francesco Molinari of Italy. Molinari could only par the first play-off hole on the par-four 18th while Lin and McIlroy both birdied meaning the two would face off again. McIlroy, 19, sent his tee shot into a crowd of spectators to the left of the fairway but recovered to send his approach shot onto the edge of the green. Lin, meanwhile, hit the fairway from the tee before superbly hitting his second shot to within a foot of the pin and when McIlroy failed to putt for a birdie, the 34-year-old applied the easy finish to become the first Asian in a decade to win the tournament. “To hit two tees in a play-off, you can&apost beat that,” said McIlroy, who failed to make the cut in Hong Kong last year at the start of his first full season on the European Tour. “It was not meant to be but it still has been a great week for me. I couldn&apost have done much more.” Lin, meanwhile, admitted he was unable to put into words exactly how much his first European Tour victory meant, with the win earning him almost 280,000 pounds ($AU 659,263). “I&aposm still smiling,” he said. “This is my first European Tour win and my feelings cannot be described.” “With this win I can re-assure myself that what I am doing is right.” Lin had started the final round a stroke behind overnight leader Oliver Wilson but a three-under-par 67 in the final round meant he finished at 15-under 265 for the tournament. McIlroy and Molinari also finished 15-under overall after both shot 65s but took second place following their defeat in the play-off. Pablo Larrazabal, the 2008 European Tour Rookie of the Year, shot a three-under-par 67 to finish in a share of fourth place alongside Chawalit Plaphol of Thailand, who carded 65. There was heartache for Wilson once again, however, as the 28-year-old hit three successive bogeys from the 15th to drop to 12-under for the tournament and leave him still searching for a maiden European Tour victory. The Englishman tied for sixth alongside Gleeson, German veteran Bernhard Langer, Malaysian Iain Steel and South African Richard Sterne. Graeme McDowell and Oliver Fisher were amongst a group of four a further stroke behind, while Colin Montgomerie&aposs challenge faded as the round wore on and the Scot finished tied 15th at 10-under.