Australia’s Gavin Flint completed a commanding eight-stroke victory in the US$75,000 Air Bagan Myanmar Masters presented by IBTC on Sunday to give his season the perfect start.
The Australian, playing on a sponsor’s invite, posted a two-under-par 70 for a four-day total of 12-under-par 276, well clear of Myanmar’s Aung Win who closed with a 74 at the season-opening event of the inaugural Asian Development Tour.
Malaysia’s Akhmal Tarmizee shot a 75 to share third with Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Chia-jen, Brazil’s Lucas Lee and Spain’s Gabriel Canizares on matching 286s.
England’s Nick Redfern carded a 73 for a tied-seventh place with Myanmar’s Zaw Zin Win on 287.
Flint, who led the event from the second round, maintained a tight grip of his lead at the Pun Hlaing Golf Club to stroll home to victory and give himself a boost ahead of the Asian Tour’s season-opening event, the Asian Tour International in Bangkok next week.
“I’m quite surprised to have come out here and play so well this week. I’m very happy about that and I’m obviously looking forward to going out there and doing it again next week,” said Flint, who finished 49th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit last season.
The Australian was two under on the front nine with four birdies against two bogeys and added another birdie on the 10th before dropping a shot on the 15th as he pocketed the US$15,000 top prize.
The 28-year-old is now determined to end his title drought on the established Asian Tour, having come close to his maiden breakthrough on several occasions. “Hopefully this is a sign of things to come. I want to win on the Asian Tour, that’s my goal. This will be my fifth season so I think it’s time to step it up and go for that win,” said Flint.
Starting the final round four shots behind Flint, local favourite Aung tried to challenge the leader but fell victim to costly bogeys on the ninth and 16th holes as well as a double bogey on the par-three 12th hole.
Aung found some consolation as he earned a place in next week’s full-field Asian Tour event as the leading non-Asian Tour member in the top-five.
“I tried my best to catch Flint but unfortunately, it was not good enough. This has been a good experience playing against a strong field and I look forward to more opportunities like this,” said Aung.
Akhmal fell short of a dream week but he was satisfied with his outing against an international field made up of 19 nationalities this week. “It was not easy playing in a tournament like this. It’s a step up and I really felt the pressure out there. Finishing third is a commendable performance but I think I’ll have to go back and work on my mental strength,” said the Malaysian, a bronze medallist at the 2007 Southeast Asian Games.
Akhmal is also confident that as the Asian Development Tour season progresses, he will be able to earn a place on the established Asian Tour. The leading three players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season.
“I’ve taken a lot of positives from this week’s event and I’m sure I’ll become a better player through this experience,” added the Malaysian.
The Asian Development Tour is designed in the same structure as the Nationwide Tour in America and European Challenge Tour to build a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia.
- Asian Tour