Photo - Asian Tour
HAPPY CHIA PLANS TO USE OPEN JOY FOR MORE SUCCESS
St Andrews: Malaysia’s Danny Chia signed off from the British Open with a solid two-under-par 70 in the final round on Sunday and hoped it would create the spark for a second career victory.
The 37-year-old, who made history by becoming the first Malaysian to make the cut at St Andrews, shot four birdies against two bogeys at the Old Course in relatively calm conditions.
His four-day total of two-over-par 290 put him ahead of the likes of Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter of England, European captain Colin Montgomerie of Scotland and former Masters champion Zach Johnson.
As with the third round, Chia ended his round in style, producing a superb par at the challenging 17th Road Hole before driving the green on 18 for an easy two-putt birdie for his second sub-par round of the week.
Chia said: “It was a mixture of everything today. I left a few short putts out there. I hit the ball decent and conditions were much easier, it was probably the easiest of four rounds.
“This week, I controlled my emotions really well. I didn’t get too upset with myself after making a bad decision and I think I took a lot from out of this week. It’s a huge confidence booster for me.”
He will head home on Monday and subsequently refocus his energy on the Asian Tour, with the Brunei Open on his radar later this month. Chia is desperate to secure a long overdue second title following his lone success at the 2002 Taiwan Open.
“From the start of the year, I’ve been striking the ball quite well and I’ve been looking forward to every event. This will boost my confidence. To play on the world stage and compete with world class players and in tough conditions, I didn’t find myself any different from them,” said Chia, who is expected to win approximately £11,000, half of which will count towards the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit.
“It also shows that I am learning to play better in links courses. My preparation was good for the Open and the shots that I practiced back home, I managed to pull them off over here. It was satisfying.”
For the first time this week, Chia hit the fairway at the 495-yard 17th hole, which has claimed many victims this week. He pulled his approach and missed the green but produced yet another wonderful recovery which nearly went in for birdie, much to the delight of the galleries.
“I couldn’t make up my mind on how to hit the second shot. I was trying to fly it onto the flat area of the green and run up the ball but my caddie said it wouldn’t stop. It surprised me and I then chose a different shot which I couldn’t visualise in my head and hit a bad one. I got lucky as it missed the bunker, and then I hit a very good chip which nearly went in,” said Chia.
He will compete in the Brunei Open later this month and plans to use his British Open success as a launch pad to better things. “However, I have to make sure I don’t force myself to perform. I think in the past, I have done that and put the weight of expectations on my shoulders. I need to not push too hard and simply let things happen.
“Winning my second Asian Tour title is always on my mind. I always ask myself that. But this week has been a confidence booster for sure. Sometimes, you need luck to win. You just can’t push it too hard,” said Chia.