HONG KONG, February 2, 2014 (HK Golfer News Wire) - Martin Liu Wai-hong held his nerve to clinch his maiden Mizuno Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship - and with it a berth in this year's professional Hong Kong Open - after an accomplished performance at Fanling Sunday.
Liu, 25, fired a final-round 71 to finish three shots ahead of second-placed Terrence Ng Shing-fung, 19, on a total of 281 (one-over-par) after a topsy-turvy day, one which saw the lead change hands multiple times.
The long-hitting Oliver Roberts, who headed the field after a sublime 66 in the morning, could only muster a 76 in the afternoon final round to share third alongside the defending champion, Max Wong Chen-kun, on 285.
"I really can't describe it," said Hong Kong Golf Club member Liu, a graduate of George Washington University. "I was just trying to focus on my own game and get myself in a position to win ... I had no idea I had done it until the final putt dropped."
Liu started his final round solidly, turning in level-par 34, but still had plenty of ground to make up on the closing nine as both Roberts and Ng, who had got himself back into the reckoning with six birdies over the first 11 holes, surged ahead.
But the final stretch would prove decisive, with Liu keeping his composure admirably over the New Course's difficult final holes, while his adversaries fell back with a succession of dropped shots as the pressure began to tell.
"I've come close before, so to win the event and earn a place in the Hong Kong Open is a truly great outcome," said Liu, who made a crucial birdie at the par-5 14th to take the lead on his own. "I struggled a bit coming in – I was getting pretty tired and missed a few shots – but I stuck to my routine and manage to make a few putts at the end. It's a great feeling to have finally done it."
281 – Martin Liu (72, 69, 69, 71)
284 – Terrence Ng (74, 70, 70, 70)
285 – Max Wong (71, 72, 70, 72), Oliver Roberts (70, 73, 66, 76)
287 – Shinichi Mizuno (73, 70, 69, 75)
292 – Tim Orgill (72, 73, 74, 73)
296 – Ronald Totton (77, 72, 72, 75)
297 – Leonard Ho (70, 75, 74, 78)
298 – Max Ting (71, 74, 76, 77), Jeffrey Wang (74, 69, 73, 82)