Lin saves best for last as Chinese golfers dominate

China's Lin Yuxin savouring success at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Wellington after shooting a six-under 65 to win by three strokes.
China's Lin Yuxin savouring success at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Wellington after shooting a six-under 65 to win by three strokes.PHOTO: ASIA-PACIFIC AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP

China's Lin Yuxin proved his mettle in a finish worthy of a champion at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC) yesterday - decisively outplaying compatriot Andy Zhang on the last two holes for a final-round 65 and a winning margin of three strokes on 14-under 270.

The 17-year-old held a one-stroke lead overnight but opened with three straight pars to trail Zhang by one following the latter's two birdies on the first and third.

It remained that way until a bogey from Zhang on the par-four 15th, the latter's first slip-up in 30 holes, levelled things up.

From there it was all Lin at the Royal Wellington Golf Club. The left-hander birdied the par-four 17th to go one up before closing with an eagle on the par-five 497m 18th, his victory sealed after his second shot with a five-iron landed within two feet of the pin.

"Andy was on fire and hadn't made a single mistake till the 15th. He's not an aggressive player but he's very steady and consistent," said Lin. "So I knew I had to just stay aggressive, hit as many drivers as I could throughout the round to get my own birdie chances."

Zhang paid tribute to Lin, but felt he played better than his 67 indicated.

"For Yuxin to go three, three, three (on his final holes), I mean, you can't really argue with that," said the 19-year-old.

"But I made only one birdie on the back nine. The way I was striking my irons and wedges, I felt like I could have made a lot more."

Victory yesterday secured the University of Southern California-bound Lin berths in two Majors next year: the Masters at Augusta and The Open at Carnoustie.

He is the third Chinese winner of the AAC after Guan Tianlang in 2012 and Jin Cheng in 2015.

It was a dominant showing for the Chinese in the ninth edition of the AAC as they claimed four of the top five positions in the 116-man field. Yuan Yechun (68) tied for third with Australia's Lee Min Woo (71) on 277, with Jin (65) a stroke back in fifth.

Singapore also had something to cheer about, as Abdul Hadi shot a 66 for the second-lowest score of the day and the best round of any Singaporean for the tournament.

The 22-year-old began the day five over but got back to even-par 284, good for a tied-17th finish.

Team-mate Gregory Foo shot a 74 to end tied-41st on 291.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 30, 2017, with the headline 'Lin saves best for last as Chinese golfers dominate'. Print Edition | Subscribe