Solaire Open: Disappointing finish for Chowrasia and Gangje

Canlubang: Indian golfers S.S.P. Chowrasia and Rahil Gangjee made a disappointing finish while Canada’s Richard T. Lee claimed a sensational comeback victory at the Solaire Open at the expense of home favourite Angelo Que whose title chances were dashed after one bad hole here Sunday.

Chowrasia followed up his pathetic six-over-par-77 in the third round, with another poor four-over-par 75 in the final round and finished tied 27th at the challenging The Country Club. Chowrasia, who had good first two rounds of 68 each, finished with a four-day total of four-over-par 288.

His compatriot Gangjee also had a poor final round of five-over-par 76 and finished with a four-day score of seven-over-par 291.

Lee overcame a four-shot deficit in the final round with a two-under-par 69 to defeat Thailand’s Chawalit Plaphol by one shot and win his first Asian Tour title at the US$300,000 event.

Carlos Pigem of Spain shot a 69 for tied third while Steve Lewton of England, Paul Peterson of the United States and Masahiro Kawamura of Japan, whose 65 was the day`s lowest score, shared fourth.

Overnight leader Que was on course for a fourth Asian Tour win before disaster struck on the par-five second hole when he shot a 12 after hitting three out-of-bound tee shots.

“This win means so much to me and it opens so many doors. To be honest, I felt like I was in contention for the first three days. I shot under-par each day and I knew that if I can came out on the last day to play the way I did then I would have a chance to win. I’m glad I did just that!” said Lee, who totalled seven-under-par 277 to win US$54,000.

Lee, whose parents are Korean, was ecstatic with his maiden victory after enjoying a solid rookie season on the Asian Tour in 2013 where he finished 32nd on the Order of Merit. However, there was a sense of disappointment as he had to watch his best friend Que walk away empty handed.

“It was a learning experience for me on the Asian Tour last year. I met some great people like Angelo Que, Unho Park and Lam Chih Bing. They are good players and I learnt a lot from them. I wished Angelo luck yesterday and told him to play his best. It was unfortunate to see what happened to him,” said the 23-year-old Lee.

Lee has endured many ups-and-downs in his career. As an amateur, he qualified for the 2007 US Open but struggled to perform due to a wrist injury. Learning from that experience, he ensured that he sealed the deal at the Solaire Open with a huge 25 footer birdie putt on the 15th hole.

“I was looking at the leaderboard out there. When I made birdie on 12, I told myself that if I can make one more birdie then I can make it happen. The birdie on 15 was a great and solid putt. I think that birdie made me win the tournament,” he smiled.