Bubba Watson’s first European Tour outing of the year ended in disappointment as Kiradech Aphibarnrat claimed a playoff victory over Li Hao-Tong at the Genzon Golf Club, China. 

“I wish I would have putted better in the first three rounds,” Watson said.

“I putted well in the last round. All in all it was a good test. It shows me what I need to work on. It shows me that I can play outside the US, especially today.”

Watson’s impressive final round 7-under eventually leaving him tied-29th alongside Englishman Chris Wood and Italian Matteo Manassero.

Tong, the young Chinese player, had carded a final round five-under to sail clear at the top of the leaderboard earlier in the day.

Aphibarnrat was reliant on a 17th hole eagle to card a level-par final round, and force a playoff.

Aphibarnrat, whose only other European Tour victory had come at the 2013 Maybank Malaysian Open, approach found the middle of the green while Li left himself a much longer putt.

The Thai player promptly sank his putt for birdie, and took the first Shezhen International title and his second European Tour win.

Aphibarnrat said: “Special thanks to my caddie, he was always pushing me. 

“When we were two behind on the last two holes he said you have not lost, we have not signed the scorecard yet and he was completely right and I just got the job done.”

“I had a chance to win in 72 holes but the putt in the play-off is the best putt I have ever made in my life.”

“I’ve been struggling for a year. I lost my coach (Natpasit Chokthanasart, who died in December 2013), changed my equipment. 

“It’s a big changing time after I won.  

“It’s been like that for a while. I haven’t been at the top of the leaderboard but finally I had the chance to do it. It was tough to stay there.”

A packed leaderboard included England’s Tommy Fleetwood, who recorded a carded a final round three-under par to end the tournament at 11-under and a third place finish, one ahead of Peter Ulhein.

Uihlein said: “It was my first tournament trying to do some new stuff with my swing.  I’ll take it. It’s one of those things that might take a little while under pressure to get used to.” 

Spaniard Alvaro Quiros had threatened to card the first ever sub 60 round on the European Tour, but dropped shots at the 12th and 18th to record an impressive nine-under par 63.

Speaking after his 11 birdie round, Quiros said: “A 63 in any golf course in the world is a good score.”
Full leaderboard details can be found here.

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