S Korean books Masters place with Asian Amateur victory

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 November, 2009, 12:00am

South Korea's Han Chang-won booked his ticket to next year's Masters after victory at the inaugural Asian Amateur Championship at Mission Hills Golf Club yesterday.

The 17-year-old, who held an overnight two-shot lead, never looked in trouble after an eagle at the par-five second. His composed round of 70 gave him a four-day total of 276 (12-under) and a comfortable five-stroke win over compatriot Eric Chun in second place.

The winner of the AAC, a tournament devised by Augusta National Golf Club in harness with the Royal & Ancient and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, is rewarded with a coveted berth at the Masters. In addition, the winner and runner-up earn spots at international final qualifying for the British Open.

'It feels fantastic and I can't wait to play in the Masters,' said Han. 'I know I'll need to improve my concentration - I was a bit nervous at the end of the round despite my lead - but it's wonderful. I never thought I could ever play at Augusta as an amateur. It would be a dream come true if I get partnered with Tiger Woods or K.J. Choi.'

Hong Kong's Steven Lam Tsz-fung, 16, who started the event brightly, faded with a 76 to finish in a share of 30th on four-over 292. Roderick Staunton fired a 71 for 37th place (294).

'I'm disappointed with the way I ended the tournament,' said Lam, who started with two birdies in the first three holes before a triple bogey at the 17th derailed a solid performance. 'But it was a great experience and I'll now look forward to playing at the UBS Hong Kong Open.'