Xiao triumphs in playoff for breakthrough win at Asian Golf Championship

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Xiao, making his Asian Tour debut, took home a winner's check of US$63,000 and earned a one-year exemption on the Asian Tour following his victory.
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AFP

China's Xiao Bowen poses with the trophy after winning the Asian Golf Championship at the Kaikou Golf Club in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province, on December 3, 2017.

China’s Bowen Xiao lifted his first professional win after prevailing on the second extra hole in a playoff against Australian Bryden Macpherson at the US$350,000 Asian Golf Championship in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province, on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Xiao, who joined the play-for-pay ranks in 2012, held a three-shot lead after 14 holes but three bogeys in his closing four holes saw him sign for a 2-over-par 74, which forced him to go the distance with Macpherson, who ended his campaign with a 69.

The duo were tied on 3-under 285 total in regulation play at the Kaikou Golf Club’s West course. Xiao missed a five-footer for birdie on the first playoff hole held on the 440-yard par-4 18th to settle for par alongside Macpherson.

He redeemed himself by making a four-footer birdie putt in his second attempt on the same playoff hole to seal the victory while the 27-year-old Macpherson, who needed to claim the title to win the China Tour Order of Merit crown, bowed out with a par.

Xiao, making his Asian Tour debut, took home a winner’s check of US$63,000 and earned a one-year exemption on the Asian Tour following his victory.

Rising star Liu Yanwei of China marked his best result on the Asian Tour after closing with a 71 to settle one shot back in third place on his own.

Australian Maverick Antcliff returned with the day’s best score of a 66 to share fourth place on 287 alongside countryman and overnight leader Marcus Both (77), as well as Callum Tarren (74) of England.

In Mauritius, South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli sank a birdie putt on the first extra hole to beat India’s Arjun Atwal in a playoff to win the Mauritius Open on Sunday, Reuters reported.

It was a second European Tour win of the year for the 27-year-old, who will be chasing an end-of-year top 50 world ranking in next week’s Joburg Open in order to qualify for all of next year’s major tournaments. He started the week in 67th.

Atwal, 44, had been top of the leaderboard from the start of the tournament, after carding a course-record 62 in Thursday’s first round and had a chance to win on the last hole on Sunday.

His eagle putt, however, lipped out forcing him to settle for a birdie and 68 for the round as he and Frittelli finished with a 16-under-par score of 268.

Frenchman Romain Langasque was third two shots back and Louis de Jager of South Africa fourth on 13-under 271.

Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen had earlier lit up the final round as he hit two eagles and a hat-trick of birdies.

His challenge, however, ended with a wayward shot which found trees on the 16th, leading to a triple-bogey seven. The South African finished at 11 under.

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