HONG KONG(AP) Taiwan’s Lin Wen-tang made a shot behind tightly bunched trees to the green during a playoff Sunday, setting up his victory against Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy at the Hong Kong Open.
Lin’s tee shot on the first playoff hole strayed into the rough, behind several trees. But the two-time Asian Tour winner managed to hit through to 6 feet of the pin.
“I told myself the winner won’t be decided until I make my final shot,” he said. “I just tried to hit the ball onto the green.”
McIlroy sent his tee shot into the rough on the second playoff hole, while Lin found the fairway. The teen also made an impressive recovery to land his shot within 12 feet of the pin, but Lin’s flawless approach came within a foot. McIlroy quickly stood up from his putt in disappointment before Lin made his tap-in.
Francesco Molinari of Italy was third after being knocked out on the first playoff hole.
Lin had a 3-under 67 in the final round, with McIlroy and Molinari shooting 65s to leave them tied at 15-under 165 in the joint European and Asian Tour event.
Thailand’s Chawalit Plaphol (65) and Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal (67) finished tied for fourth at 13-under. Third-round leader Oliver Wilson of England shot 71 to tie for sixth.
Bernhard Langer failed in his bid to become the oldest winner on the European Tour. After shooting 63 on Saturday, the 51-year-old German shot 69 to finish tied for sixth with Wilson and three others.
John Daly shot a bogey-free 62, one off the course record, and tied for 17th. He recovered from a 73 on Saturday.
“It feels really, really good. It feels like, ‘Yeah, maybe I still can play a little bit,”’ Daly said. “I wasn’t expecting this much this week and to shoot one of probably my best rounds in three years, I’m pretty happy with it.”
On the final hole of regulation, Lin made a brilliant approach shot on the par-4 18th. After waving his hat to the crowd as he strolled toward the green, Lin missed his birdie putt from close range to force a playoff.
His title hopes seemed dashed at the first playoff hole when his tee shot strayed into the rough. But after his solid recovery shot, McIlroy got within 3 feet and both birdied to force a second playoff hole. Molinari missed a long birdie attempt.
Lin won $416,660 in prize money, nearly doubling his earnings on the Asian Tour this year.