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PARIYA TAKES FLIGHT AT MERCURIES TAIWAN MASTERS

Photo - Asian Tour 

PARIYA TAKES FLIGHT AT MERCURIES TAIWAN MASTERS
 
Taipei: Licensed pilot Pariya Junhasavasdikul of Thailand defeated Siddikur of Bangladesh in a pulsating play-off for his first Asian Tour victory at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Sunday.
 
Pariya, who graduated from Purdue University in the United States with a pre-law bachelors degree and minored in aviation management, closed with a two-over-par 74 to tie with Siddikur in regulation play on a four-day total of two-under-par 286 at the challenging Taiwan Golf and Country Club.
 
The duo returned to the par four 18th hole in extra time and it was Pariya who sealed the victory with a par at the US$500,000 Asian Tour event.
 
Local hope Lu Wei-chih, a former Mercuries Taiwan Masters champion, missed out on the play-off after making bogey on the last hole for a 71 while South Africa’s Peter Karmis and Chan Yih-shin of Chinese Taipei finished a stroke back in tied fourth position on a 288 total.
 
Asian legend Hsieh Min-nan of Chinese Taipei, who at the age of 70 years and 53 days old is the oldest player on the Asian Tour to make the halfway cut, signed off with an 80 for a 306 total.
 
Trailing overnight leader Siddikur by a stroke, Pariya, turned in 36 before carding a pivotal birdie on the 15th hole to force a play-off.
 
“I didn’t expect to win but now that I have it is great. I came here with a goal to finish in the top-10 but to win here is just unbelievable. It opens a lot of doors for me but Asia is my home and I’ll always play here,” said the 26-year-old, who won US$100,000 for his victory.
 
Pariya is one of the most consistent golfers on the Asian Tour who has four top-10s to his name this season. His best finish was in third place at the Handa Singapore Classic last month.
 
Pariya admitted that nerves got to him on the back nine but was delighted with his consistent performance this week.
 
“I tried not to look at the results but I couldn’t help myself on the back nine. I knew I was neck-to-neck with Siddikur and I’m lucky things went my way,” said Pariya, who represented the Purdue University golf team and has clocked over 100 hours as a pilot.
 
Siddikur, who is the first Bangladeshi to win on the Asian Tour at the Brunei Open in August, mounted a strong challenge for his second victory but was blown off course by buffeting winds as he closed with four bogeys against one birdie for a 75.
 
“It is disappointing not to win but second position is a good finish for me. The best man always wins and I guess this week isn’t my week,” said the man from Dhaka.
 
Lu carded birdies on holes three and 13 but was disappointed with his only blemish of the day on the final hole when his approach shot flew over the green.
 
“I tried my best to play and make a challenge for the title but the 18th hole really let me down. This course is so challenging and the pin on the last hole was tucked in a very difficult position,” said Lu.

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