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Aussie Travis Smyth wins Yeangder Tournament Players Championship, Malaysia's Nicholas Fung powers to T3 for best Asian Tour finish this season
Australian Travis Smyth finally got the monkey off his back and won his maiden title on the Asian Tour with an impressive two-shot victory in the USD700,000 Yeangder TPC at Linkou International Golf and Country Club, in Taipei.
The 27-year-old from Sydney drew on a season of strong performances and near misses to fire his second successive six-under-par 66 for a tournament total of 19-under=par, with defending champion and home favourite Lee Chieh-po finishing runner up after a closing 67.
Malaysia's Nicholas signed in successive 67s over the weekend to finish joint third on 14-under-par, tied with Chinese-Taipei’s Wang Wei-hsuan (67), American Berry Henson (68), and Bjorn Hellgren from Sweden (69). The other Malaysian to make the cut, Ben Leong, closed with 70 for T11 place on 11-under-par.
Smyth started the day with a one-shot lead and proved uncatchable after he birdied four out of the first six holes before virtually wrapping things up by making three birdies in a row from the 10th. With a healthy lead, the surprise double bogey from a plugged bunker lie on the 15th was not too damaging particularly as he responded with his final birdie of the day on the next.
The victory made up for narrowly failing to win the International Series England in June where he was second, a result that earned him starts on the LIV Golf Invitational series.
“Feels amazing!” said an overjoyed Smyth, who picked up a cheque for USD126,000.
“I got so close, I felt like I let it go in England and to play some LIV events, feel what it's like there, I just want to get back. I want to be the player that I believe I can be, and winning this week is one step along the journey.”
Smyth becomes the 11th first-time winner this season, and first Australian to win the event. He earned his place on the Asian Tour by finishing joint third at Qualifying School in 2018 and, after a number of good results since then, a first victory had been expected soon.
For Lee it was his best finish on the Asian Tour as the tournament was held solely as a domestic event whne he won last year due to the travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think I did well today. Travis was just too good. I played well in this tough conditions. And my overall 72-hole score is better than my winning score last year so there is some improvement! I am happy with how I played this week. Happy to set a new personal best result on the Asian Tour," said Lee.
The Asian Tour stays in Chinese-Taipei for the coming week's Mercuries Taiwan Masters at Taiwan Golf and Country Club, from September 29 to October 2.
Results (Top 10 and ties)
269 - Travis Smyth (AUS) 68-69-66-66.
271 - Lee Chieh-po (TPE) 67-68-69-67.
274 - Wang Wei-hsuan (TPE) 70-68-69-67, Nicholas Fung (MAS) 72-68-67-67, Berry Henson (USA) 68-67-71-68, Bjorn Hellgren (SWE) 68-68-69-69.
275 - Liu Yen-Hung (TPE) 69-68-69-69.
276 - Honey Baisoya (IND) 71-69-69-67, Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND) 67-68-73-68, Rashid Khan (IND) 68-70-70-68.