Liang Wenchong of China holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the fifth hole of a playoff with Y.E. Yang of South Korea to win the China Masters on Sunday.
Liang came into the final round with a two-stroke lead and was four in front of Yang. But he dropped shots all day to finish with a 2-over-par 73. Yang shot a 69 to leave both players at 8-under 276.
Aaron Townsend of Australia (72) finished a shot back in third.
”I’m very happy,” Liang said after his winning putt in fading light at the Nanshan International Golf Club’s Danling course. ”I have never been involved in something like this. Thanks to Y.E. for making it so exciting.”
Liang, who led from the first round, opened the door for Yang and Townsend when he bogeyed No. 1 and then double-bogeyed the seventh before recovering with a birdie on the eighth. That left all three at 8 under at the turn.
Liang’s chances seemed to be slipping away when he three-putted to bogey the 10th and Townsend birdied the 11th, allowing the Australian to move one shot ahead of Yang and two in front of Liang.
Townsend bogeyed No. 13 to fall back into a tie with Yang, who birdied No. 15 to take the lead. Liang also birdied No. 15 to remain one shot back and then forced the playoff when Yang bogeyed No. 16.
”When I lost the lead, I actually felt more relaxed," said Liang, who earned his first title since he picked up two victories on the OneAsia Tour in 2010. ”I played the back nine better, especially the last few holes.”
Looking for his first tour victory since 2010, Yang said he was frustrated his late charge came up short.
”I am a bit disappointed,” Yang said. ”It was very tiring to have to play five more holes, but Liang played good golf.”
Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen also made a late run, shooting a 67 that included three birdies on the back nine. He finished in a three-way tie for fourth.
”There were a lot of birdie opportunities, but I just didn’t make as many as I could have,” the South African said. ”It is a bit frustrating when I think of the missed opportunities on the first two days.”