Sports

Battling Both

Aussie wins first title in five years after contemplating quitting the game

Australian Marcus Both clinched an emotional two-shot victory at the Philippine Open yesterday to seal an amazing comeback, after a tough year which saw him almost quit the game.

Both, 35, finished with a bogey on the last hole at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club course in Manila, giving him his third Asian Tour victory after winning the 2009 Cambodian Open and the 2003 Sanya Open in China.

He (right) posted a two-under 70 for a winning total of six-under 282 at the US$300,000 ($375,000) tournament.

Both, who lost his Asian Tour card last season following a run of poor form and had to rely on a sponsor's invitation for the Philippine Open, was overwhelmed with joy following his triumph.

"People say they haven't seen me smile this much ever," he said.

"The last 12 months have been really tough.

"I kind of feel some vindication in some ways for making the choices that I have.

"It was an emotional year on and off the golf course after I lost my Tour card... it was so bad that I even thought of quitting the game."

Winning did not come easy for Both, who had to make a huge 20-foot birdie putt on 15th followed by a short birdie on 16th to win the top prize of US$54,000.

"I hit my putt on 15th a bit too hard, but it went in. I gave it a bit more speed than what I had intended to.

"Then I hit one of my best swings on 16 and the wind died when I needed it to. Those two holes gave me some momentum."

Five players - Bangladesh's Siddikur Rahman, Australia's Nathan Holman, Thailand's Arnond Vongvanij and Antonio Lascuna and Jay Bayron, both of the Philippines - shared second place on 284.- AFP.


FINAL SCORES

282: Marcus Both 70-66-76-70

284: Siddikur Rahman 
66-73-76-69, Nathan Holman 
71-71-72-70, Antonio Lascuna 
74-71-69-70, Arnond Vongvanij 
74-72-68-70, Jay Bayron 71-72-69-72

285: Hsieh Tung-shu 77-68-70-70.

Selected:

308: Choo Tze Huang 75-74-82-77.