Rookie Stages Rousing Comeback After Two-Shot Penalty Blow

November 12, 2017

Micha Lauren Shin with the winner’s trophy at the Resorts World Manila Masters. Picture by Paul Lakatos/Asian Tour

Manila, Philippines: Asian Tour rookie Micah Lauren Shin overcame a two-shot penalty incurred at the opening hole and defeated Arnond Vongvanij at the first play-off hole to win the US$1 million Resorts World Manila Masters.

Shin was set back by two shots after discovering he had 15 clubs in his bag. But that mistake, along with a bogey on the third hole, only spurred the 20-year-old American to force his way back into contention.

Shin reignited his charge with a birdie on the fourth hole before adding three successive birdies starting from seven. Four further birdies on his inward nine earned him a play-off spot with Thai Arnond, who closed with a five-under-par 67.

The duo were tied at 19-under-par 269 in regulation play at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club.

At the first play-off hole on the par-five 18th, Shin gained the advantage by finding the fairway with his tee shot while Arnond’s landed in the left rough. After getting onto the green in three, Arnond missed a seven-foot birdie putt while Shin made no mistake in sinking his from inside four feet to win his maiden Asian Tour title.

Shin said: “After the two-shot penalty, I kept telling myself maybe it needed that penalty to keep me on my toes and focus more. I needed that confidence to get back into position. I focused on every hole and managed to get back into contention.”

Reflecting on his performance, Arnond said: “The week has been very successful despite losing in the play-off. I was more composed than I thought I would be. After a couple of years of not playing well, I’m finally playing well again.”

Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena succumbed to home pressure and had to settle for a share of third place with Thai Phachara Khongwatmai after they signed for rounds of 67 and 69 respectively.

Tabuena said: “My aim was to contend for the trophy and I’m proud of myself that I managed to do that. It’s tougher playing in your home country as there’s lots of expectations and people are cheering for you. And these are people you don’t want to disappoint. But overall, I’m proud of myself and pleased with the way I conducted myself on the golf course.”