Heath wins as Goodchild runs out of puff

SCOTLAND'S Martin Heath overcame a slow start to beat Australian qualifier John Goodchild 3-1 in the final of the US$8,000 Mazda Championship at Hong Kong Cricket Club yesterday.

The match started on a tense note as it was the first professional final for both players but they still produced some long and exciting rallies in the first two games before Goodchild ran out of steam.

Goodchild, a 27-year-old forklift driver who came all the way from the qualifying rounds, was happy just to go for returns and waited for the more ambitious Heath to make the mistake when he went for the shots.

His defensive tactics paid off as he came storming back from 3-6 down to win seven points on the trot, with only two points coming from winners, and held on to win the 25-minute opener 15-13.

He led 4-1 in the second game but Heath slowly found his touch and after levelling the score at 7-7, took control and never looked back to take the game 15-11.

A confident Heath needed only 15 more minutes to finish off the match, steamrolling past a hapless Goodchild 15-2, 15-5.

''I knew he was tired from the day before and I just kept him moving in the first two games to tire him out,'' said 21-year-old Heath, who is 100th in the latest world ranking issued a week ago.

''Actually I wasn't hitting the ball well all through the week but my fitness pulled me through. I think I'm starting to find my touch and this win has boosted my confidence for the next two tournaments in Hong Kong.'' There will be two more satellite events in Hong Kong, both jointly-sponsored by Perrier and Asia Inc. - the first on Wednesday at the Kowloon Cricket Club and the second at Hong Kong Squash Centre next week.

Goodchild, ranked 139th on the PSA chart, will have to play in the qualifying rounds again.

He said: ''I've played six hard matches since Thursday and I was just too tired to carry on after the second game today.

''Martin didn't have to play in the qualifiers and therefore had played two matches less, so he was a lot fresher. Anyway, he was too good once he found his touch.'' Top seeds for the two upcoming satellites will again be New Zealand's world number 35 Glen Wilson and Australia's Simon Baker, 48th on the PSA ranking.

Others getting a direct entry in the 16-man draw are Angus Kirkland, Andrew Shum Siu-chung, Nathan Gallagher, Byron Davis, Dominic Preece, Daniel Sharplin, Kai Peltonen, Wayne Werder, Farhan Samiullah and Heath.