8th September 2019 | Asian Tour
Chang clinches breakthrough victory at Yeangder TPC
Linkou, Chinese Taipei, September 8: Korea’s Yikeun Chang shook off his bridesmaid’s tag when he closed with a flawless six-under-par 66 to seal a three-shot victory for his maiden Asian Tour title at the US$500,000 Yeangder Tournament Players Championship (TPC) on Sunday.
The 25-year-old Chang, a three-time runner-up on the Asian Tour, overcame a one-shot deficit as he rode a hot putter to return with a bogey-free round highlighted by six birdies at the Linkou International Golf and Country Club.
Chang would take home a winner’s prize purse of US$90,000 following his breakthrough and his winning total of 21-under-par 267 would also mark the record lowest 72-hole score in the tournament’s 10-year history.
Talented Thai rookie Kosuke Hamamoto continued his fine form to sign for a bogey-free 67 and record his best result yet on the Asian Tour with his second-place finish. The 20-year-old Hamamoto has impressively kept the bogeys off his card for the last 52 holes.
Local hotshot Chan Shih-chang was disappointed not to recapture the trophy on home soil after battling to a 70 to finish in third place on 271. The 33-year-old, however, stayed positive as he capped his best result this season after missing six cuts in eight starts prior to this week.
Overnight leader Lin Wen-tang settled a further shot back in fourth following a 72 but took pride in his commendable result, which marked his fourth top-five finish in 10 attempts at the Yeangder TPC.
Did you know?
- Yikeun Chang is the first Korean player to win the tournament, which has been held annually on the Asian Tour since 2010. He is also the second Korean, following Taehee Lee, to win on Tour this season.
- Chang tops the stats category for putts per greens in regulation this week with his average of 1.58. Also ranked inside tied-fifth for Average Putts per round (1.47) and Greens in regulation (77.78%).
- Prior to his breakthrough victory, Chang has enjoyed runner-up finishes at the 2017 Yeangder Heritage tournament in Chinese Taipei, the 2018 GS Caltex Maekyung Open and the 2019 Bank BRI Indonesia Open last week.
- Chang won twice on his domestic circuit in 2017, including his National Open, which earned him a coveted spot at The Open at Royal Birkdale, where he made his Major debut that year.
- He topped the Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2016 in his second attempt. He missed the mark in his first attempt in 2014. Chang, however, did not manage to keep his card for 2017 as he finished 101st on the 2016 Order of Merit.
- The Korean regained his card at the 2017 Qualifying School after finishing tied-eighth. He ended the season in 48th place on the Merit rankings and kept his card for 2018.
- Kosuke Hamamoto, whose father is Japanese and mother is Thai, is playing in his first appearance at the Yeangder TPC this week.
- The 20-year-old Thai, who is playing in his first year as a professional golfer, has dropped only a single shot all week. He has stayed bogey-free for the last 52 holes. He’s also the player with the least number of bogeys made in four rounds of the tournament this week.
- Hamamoto started playing golf at the age of eight. He is a former Thai Amateur star, South East Asia (SEA) Games individual gold medalist and was part of the first Thai team to win the Nomura Cup in Malaysia in 2017.
- He was also part of Team Thailand that finished second in the Team event at the SEA Games in 2017.
- Hamamoto came through 2019 Qualifying School last December. Hamamoto, who started the season with a missed cut in Bangladesh, has since posted a tied-28th, tied-16th and tied-10th finish in Jakarta last week.
- He has also posted six top 10s and 13 top-20s on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) and All Thailand Golf Tour (ATGT) in 2019.
- Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei is a two-time winner on the Asian Tour and a six-time winner on the Asian Development Tour (ADT).
- Chan enjoyed a breakout season on the ADT in 2014, when he became only the second player to win three titles in a single season on the secondary Tour. He earned playing rights on the Asian Tour for the remainder of that season after achieving the feat.
- Chan broke through on the Asian Tour at the 2016 King’s Cup in Thailand and went on to win his second title at the Diamond Cup in Japan two months later. He would end his season in a career-high fourth place on the 2016 Asian Tour Order of Merit.
- Chan claimed his six ADT title at the Taifong Open last year. He shares the record of having the most wins on the ADT with Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand.