Chinese number 1 Liang Wen-chong to defend Manila Masters title
Manila, Oct 27 (IANS)
China's number one Liang Wen-chong has confirmed his title defence at the $1 million Resorts World Manila Masters next month.
The former Asian Tour number one triumphed at the inaugural tournament last year and subsequently earned the tag of the 'people's champion' when he generously donated half his prize money to victims of Typhoon Yolanda, which had devastated the country just weeks earlier.
"I will try my best to defend the title. I still remember that we played the tournament a week after the typhoon and I hope the people of the Philippines have recovered from that episode," said Liang.
Leading by one stroke going into the third day, Liang produced a superb back nine performance at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club to force his way into a play-off with Thailand's Prom Meesawat, who had charged into contention with a closing 65.
The 36-year-old Chinese birdied the 11th, 13th, 15th and 18th holes before prevailing in the first extra hole when Prom found trouble in the bunker.
"I got lucky there as Prom got into a bad spot during the play-off. I'm really looking forward to going back to Manila Southwoods to defend my title," said Liang, who holds three Asian Tour victories.
"Last year I arrived only on Tuesday of the event week and played one practice round during the pro-am. Sometimes, when you get to a new place, you feel lucky. I also got lucky in the play-off. I plan to get to Manila a bit earlier this week to prepare well for my defense."
He rated the Manila Southwoods highly, saying the pristine Jack Nicklaus-designed Masters course will offer the field a superb test of golf from Nov 20-23.
"It is an interesting course. There are many good holes. The par fives, you can reach in two for eagle chances, so the scoring opportunities are there," said Liang.
The Resorts World Manila Masters is celebrating its second edition by raising the tournament's prize fund to $1 million this year, which is $250,000 more than the inaugural edition in 2013.
It is the richest golf tournament in the Philippines and one of three which features on the Asian Tour.