2008

HK Golfer - - Honma Hong Kong Open | The Top Champions -

The 50th an­niver­sary tour­na­ment surely ranks as one of the great­est Euro­pean Tour events of all time. What made this championship was the play-off, which saw Lin Wen-tang be­come the first Asian player to win the ti­tle since Kang Wook­soon in 1998. Af­ter pulling his drive into trou­ble on the first ex­tra hole, Lin, with his op­po­nents safely in the fairway, looked dead and buried. With noth­ing to lose, the Tai­wanese pulled out a short iron and fired his ap­proach through the fo­liage, over the green­side bunker to within four feet of the cup. It was noth­ing short of mirac­u­lous.

Stand­ing on the 18th tee for the third time of the af­ter­noon, it was Rory McIl­roy’s turn to find trou­ble. Us­ing his hy­brid, his drive bounced off the OB fence that lines the left side of the hole and fin­ished in a hor­ri­ble po­si­tion at the bot­tom of a tree, not far from where Lin had made his great es­cape. But then it was McIl­roy’s turn to pro­duce some magic. With 118 yards to go, but with no sight of the pin, the 19-yearold snap-hooked a gap-wedge loaded with spin that some­how caught the back of the green and stopped within 12 feet of the flag. But only for a mo­ment, be­cause Lin then pulled off an­other gem, fir­ing his own wedge to within inches for a cast-iron birdie. Whip­ping his cap off to the roar of the crowds, it was this shot, rather than his pre­vi­ous mir­a­cle ap­proach that showed his sheer de­ter­mi­na­tion to win.

Up at the green, McIl­roy’s ef­fort sailed past, and af­ter knock­ing it in for Par, the stage was set for Lin, 50 years af­ter Mr Lu had won the in­au­gu­ral championship, to tap his in for the great­est of vic­to­ries.

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