SportHong Kong

Unho Park becomes first player to win three straight HKPGA Championships

Singapore-based ace earns earned HK$81,000 and the Joe Hardwick Trophy for the victory

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 January, 2014, 9:58pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 January, 2014, 9:58pm

Unho Park hopes his record-breaking victory in the Ageas HKPGA Championship on Wednesday will set him up for a successive year on the Asian Tour.

Park held his nerve to become the first player to win three consecutive HKPGA Championships at the Hong Kong Golf Club.

Park, who turned 40 on the eve of the HK$450,000 tournament, holed a succession of crucial putts down the closing stretch to card a level-par 70 over the New Course to pip fellow Australian Scott Barr (71), his co-leader after two rounds, by a shot.

It was emotional - I may have looked quite comfortable, but it felt like my stomach was in my mouth
Unho Park

Hong Kong's James Stewart fired a blemish-free 68 to secure third place, a further three shots behind.

"I'm so relieved right now, over the moon actually," said Park, who benefited from a Barr bogey at the penultimate hole.

"I was trying not to think about winning today, but it was hard not to. I had a two-shot cushion at one point and let that slip away. It was emotional - I may have looked quite comfortable, but it felt like my stomach was in my mouth."

Singapore-based Park, who earned a cheque for HK$81,000 and the Joe Hardwick Trophy for the victory, got off to a flying start with birdies at the second and third holes.

Bogeys at the fourth and ninth set him back, but Barr was having problems of his own, meaning Park had a two-shot advantage with nine holes to play.

Barr, one of the most consistent players on the Asian Tour since its inception a decade ago, roared back with birdies at the 10th and 14th to tie the lead. His only dropped shot of the back nine - after he failed to get up and down from behind the 17th green - proved decisive.

"This has got to be the best [of the three HKPGA Championship victories]," declared Park, who compared his emotions over the closing holes to hitting his opening tee shot at the 2006 Open Championship - one of golf's four majors - at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

"Scott was a bit unlucky on 17, so to hole my own putt for par was really important. He's been playing really well ... I'm just trying to let it all sink in, but I couldn't have asked for a better start to the new year.

"I'm feeling good about my chances for the season ahead," said Park, who has yet to win on the Asian Tour.



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