Saturday, March 17, 2012


Siem Reap, Cambodia: American rookie David Lipsky produced a superb chip-in birdie to defeat a luckless Elmer Salvador of the Philippines in the first play-off hole and win the inaugural US$300,000 HANDA FALDO Cambodian Classic today.
The 23-year-old, who won the Asian Tour’s Qualifying School in January, enjoyed his maiden professional victory in front of six-time Major champion Nick Faldo, who watched the shootout at the impressive Angkor Golf Resort, a course he designed.
Starting the day seven shots off the lead, Lipsky closed with a stunning seven-under-par 65 for a 15-under-par 273 total. A gritty Salvador had a 10-foot birdie putt at the last hole in regulation play for the outright win but he missed for a 68.
It was a frenetic final day as there were six players tied for the lead at one stage before Lipsky and Salvador, who also lost in a play-off at last year’s ISPS Handa Singapore Classic, edged ahead of the pack.
“I really can’t believe I’m here right now,” said a jubilant Lipsky, who earned US$47,550 and a priceless winner’s exemption on the Asian Tour till the end of 2014.
“The chip-in was unbelievable. I practice my short game pretty hard and I thought I had a chance to make it. It was one of those makeable ones up the hill. Just tried to give it a good strike and see what happens,” added the Korean-American.
Before the play-off, the pivotal moment for Lipsky came at the 15th hole. “I won Q-school and I knew I had the game in me. I’m happy it showed up here. On 15, I saw that everyone was bunched on 13-under. I had a 50 foot putt (for birdie) and I jarred it and thought I could have a chance to win,” said Lipsky, who went on to birdie the 16th hole to pull ahead of the pack.
“This is phenomenal as it opens up so many doors for me. Apparently, I’m in the winner’s category now and I didn’t know what that meant. I guess I’ll find out.”
The 42-year-old Salvador had a good look for an outright win but misjudged his putt at the 72nd hole.
“My putting was sometimes good, sometimes bad. On 14, I had a putter length chance for birdie but I didn’t get it in. On 18, I charged my putt and my line was not good. That was my chance,” lamented the Filipino.
“It was a good chip (by Lipsky), it was like a billiard shot … the way he stopped the ball (into the hole). Can’t do anything about that. I still feel happy. Two times losing in a play-off now, I don’t know why. I’ll keep trying,”added Salvador.
The lanky Turner was disappointed he finished third, one shot shy of the play-off after an even par 72. “It wasn’t meant to be. I just couldn’t get a putt to drop. I guess I was trying too hard to make the putts instead of letting it happen,” said the Irishman.
The consolation was he earned a spot into the next Asian Tour stop at the Panasonic Open India in two weeks’ time. “That was the goal, to finish top five. I guess I accomplished that. But having a chance to win, that’s disappointing but I’ll take a ton of positives from this, it’s been a great week,” said Turner.
Finland’s Kalle Samooja enjoyed his best finish on Tour with a tied fourth placing with Thailand’s Chinnarat Phadungsil and Korea’s Baek Seuk-hyun on 275. He closed with a 65.
“I saw the leaderboard after 15 after I made three birdies in a row and I was tied for the lead. I just tried to birdie a couple more but it ended like this. I played a solid round. I’m pleased,” said Samooja, who is playing in his second season on the Asian Tour.
“I had a bad drive on 16 where I pulled it into the water and maybe it cost me the tournament.”
Overnight leader Kim Hyung-sung settled for joint seventh position after signing off with a disappointing 75.
Angkor Golf Resort
Par 288 (4x72). Yardage 7,279
273 - David LIPSKY (USA) 73-68-67-65, Elmer SALVADOR (PHI) 68-69-68-68.
(Lipsky won play-off with a birdie on the first extra hole)
274 - Niall TURNER (IRL) 67-67-68-72.
275 - Kalle SAMOOJA (FIN) 72-69-69-65, Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA) 69-64-76-66, BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR) 66-71-69-69.
276 - KIM Gi-whan (KOR) 69-71-70-66, Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 71-66-68-71, KIM Hyung-sung (KOR) 68-65-68-75.
278 - Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 71-70-71-66, Scott BARR (AUS) 71-71-69-67, Berry HENSON (USA) 68-72-70-68, Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 68-70-71-69.
279 - Sushi ISHIGAKI (JPN) 73-69-68-69, Hirotaro NAITO (JPN) 72-70-67-70, Pablo HERRERIA (ESP) 71-68-69-71, Sam CYR (USA) 70-70-68-71.





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