Pilot Pariya plots course to victory

Pariya Junhasavasdikul of Thailand won his maiden Asian Tour victory at the 2010 Taiwan Masters.

Pariya Junhasavasdikul of Thailand won his maiden Asian Tour victory at the 2010 Taiwan Masters.

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Pariya Junhasavasdikul, a recreational licensed pilot, was flying even higher after his playoff win Sunday for his first Asian Tour victory at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters.

Pariya, who lettered at Purdue University in the United States, closed with a 2-over 74 to tie Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh in regulation at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club.

LEADING FINAL-ROUND SCORES

286 - Siddikur (BAN) 75-69-67-75, Pariya Junhasavasdikul (THA) 71-71-70-74

287 - Lu Wei-chih (TPE) 72-72-72-71

288 - Peter Karmis (RSA) 70-72-71-75, Chan Yih-shin (TPE) 75-68-73-72

290 - Prom Meesawat (THA) 72-75-71-72

291 - Scott Barr (AUS) 74-75-72-70

292 - Lu Wen-teh (TPE) 76-73-70-73

293 - Lin Wen-tang (TPE) 73-73-73-74, Tsai Chi-huang (TPE) 73-72-76-72

294 - Udorn Duangdecha (THA) 73-74-73-74

295 - Mardan Mamat (SIN) 76-71-71-77, Iain Steel (MAS) 71-73-76-75, Artemio Murakami (PHI) 75-74-72-74, Simon Griffiths (ENG) 78-72-71-74

296 - Oscar Fraustro (MEX) 75-72-73-76, Zaw Moe (MYN) 74-75-73-74, Lu Tze-shyan (TPE) 81-66-76-73

The duo, with a four-day total of 2-under 286, returned to the par-4 18th, where Pariya sealed victory with a par in the US $500,000 Asian Tour event.

Local hopeful Lu Wei-chih, a former Taiwan Masters champion (2005), missed out on the playoff after making bogey on the last hole for a 71. Peter Karmis of South Africa and Chan Yih-shin of Taiwan finished one stroke further back in fourth place at 288.

Hsieh Min-nan of Taiwan, who at the age of 70 years and 53 days is the oldest player in history on the Asian Tour to make the halfway cut, signed off with an 80 for a 306 total.

Trailing overnight leader Siddikur by one stroke, Pariya turned in 36 on the front nine before carding a pivotal birdie on the 15th hole.

“I didn’t expect to win,” said Pariya, who earned US $100,000 for the victory. “I came here with a goal to finish in the top 10, but to win here is just unbelievable. It opens a lot of doors for me, but Asia is my home and I’ll always play here.”

Pariya has shown a lot of consistency this season with four top-10 finishes. His best finish was third place at the Handa Singapore Classic last month.

“I tried not to look at the results, but I couldn’t help myself on the back nine,” he said. “I knew I was neck-to-neck with Siddikur, and I’m lucky things went my way.”

Siddikur, the first Bangladeshi to win on the Asian Tour at the Brunei Open in August, mounted a strong challenge for his second victory but was affected by erratic winds as he closed with four bogeys against one birdie for a 75.

“It is disappointing not to win, but second position is a good finish for me,” Siddikur said. “The best man always wins, and I guess this week isn’t my week.”

Lu carded birdies on Nos. 3 and 13. His only major blemish of the day came on the final hole, when his approach shot flew over the green.

“I tried my best to play and make a challenge for the title, but the 18th hole really let me down,” Lu said. “This course is so challenging, and the pin on the last hole was tucked in a very difficult position.”

Asian Tour contributed to this report.

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