EMOTIONAL MARDAN ROMPS TO FIVE-STROKE VICTORY AT ICTSI PHILIPPINE OPEN
An emotional Mardan Mamat of Singapore coasted to a comfortable five-stroke victory at the ICTSI Philippine Open to end a six-year winless run on Sunday.
The 44-year-old picked up his third Asian Tour victory with a closing one-under-par 71 at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club’s East course to complete a commanding wire-to-wire victory with an eight-under-par 280 aggregate.
Mo Joong-kyung of Korea threatened briefly before finishing a distant second in the US$300,000 Asian Tour event, signing off with a 74 while top Filipino honours went to Antonio Lascuna who returned a 69 for tied third place with Japan’s Azuma Yano, who signed for a 70.
However, it was heartbreak hotel for Filipino teenager Miguel Tabuena, who started the final round one shot back of Mardan but faded badly with an 81 to settle for a share of 11th position.
After tapping in for his lone bogey on 18, Mardan fell on his knees to celebrate his return into the winner’s enclosure. He later broke in tears when asked if thoughts of not winning had crept into his mind during his barren years.
“My wife (Naz) encouraged and pushed me a lot to practice. She said you love the game so much and why must you quit. There was a time when I said it was time for me to be a golf coach but she said not in your dreams,” said a teary-eyed Mardan.
“It feels great. It’s always good to win a tournament, especially the oldest national Open in Asia. I didn’t do any stupid mistakes and kept my ball in play all the time. The whole week I’m very patient and hit the ball good,” added the Singaporean, who pocketed the top cheque of US$47,550, an OMEGA Seamaster Aqua Terra Golf watch and a BlackBerry smartphone.
With his closest challengers Mo and Tabuena starting poorly, a rock solid Mardan raced three shots clear with a birdie on the fourth hole and by the time he turned in 35, the veteran was six shots clear of the pack. The back nine was a procession as he waltzed to victory.