Zhang wins in Wales; Walton and Rafferty tied 11th
  Lianwei Zhang. Picture Getty Images

 Lianwei Zhang. Picture Getty Images

 

Ronan Rafferty and Philip Walton tied for 11th behind China’s Lianwei Zhang in the SSE Enterprise Wales Senior Open

Zhang shot an incredible eight under par 62 in the final round  at The Celtic Manor Resort to secure his nation’s first title on the European Senior Tour.

Thirteen years after becoming the first Chinese winner on the European Tour, Zhang matched that achievement on the Senior Tour, holding off the challenge of former Ryder Cup pair Paul Broadhurst and David Gilford. 

Zhang, who trailed overnight leader Chris Williams by three shots, ran riot on the front nine as he recorded four consecutive birdies and an eagle on the opening five holes – he then added another two birdies to reach the turn in just 29 shots.

He then posted six pars in a row on the back nine before birdieing the 16th, and despite his only bogey of the day on the final hole, his 12 under par total for the tournament gave him a three shot victory over Broadhurst, who carded a closing round of 66 to finish runner up, with Gilford, a further shot back in third place.

“I was pleased to be in the final group and then I had a very good start,” said Zhang. “I had four birdies then an eagle, and then birdies on eight and nine.

“I made a mistake on 10, I missed a three foot putt for birdie, but I kept going. When I made another birdie I led by three shots. I missed par on the last hole, but it’s okay. I’m very happy.”

Zhang’s only European Tour win came in the Caltex Masters in in Singapore in 2003 when he held off the challenge of Major Champion Ernie Els, and the 51 year old couldn’t hide his delight at now becoming China’s first Senior Tour winner.

He said: “I’m so happy and proud to become the first Chinese winner on the Senior Tour. I’d like to say thank you to SSE Enterprise and the Senior Tour for giving me the chance to play.

“When I got to the 17th hole, I thought to myself ‘if I make par, I will win’. I felt a little bit of pressure, but that wasn’t a problem.

“I enjoyed the game today, and I’m delighted to win the trophy."

Rafferty closed with a one over 71 to finish on one under alongside Walton, who shot a level par 70. Both earned  €6,597

Final scores

198 L Zhang (Chn) 67 69 62,

201 P Broadhurst (Eng) 70 65 66,

202 D Gilford (Eng) 70 68 64,

203 A Bossert (Sui) 68 69 66, 

204 P Linhart (Esp) 69 69 66, 

205 C Williams (RSA) 65 68 72, 

206 M Atlevi (Swe) 69 69 68, B Longmuir (Sco) 68 72 66,

207 S Tinning (Den) 69 70 68, 

208 P Fowler (Aus) 70 68 70, 

209 J Kingston (RSA) 69 70 70, M Mouland (Wal) 72 71 66, P Walton (Irl) 73 66 70, M Mackenzie (Eng) 67 70 72, J Quiros (Esp) 69 71 69, R Rafferty (Nir) 68 70 71, ( € 6,597 each)

210 I Woosnam (Wal) 70 70 70, 

211 G Manson (Aut) 69 72 70, P Wesselingh (Eng) 74 69 68, S Luna (Esp) 72 70 69, G Marks (Eng) 68 72 71, 

212 P Golding (Eng) 69 73 70, T Thelen (USA) 73 70 69, M Harwood (Aus) 75 70 67, 

213 C Mason (Eng) 76 70 67, D Russell (Eng) 68 75 70, B Conser (USA) 72 71 70, P Eales (Eng) 72 72 69, M James (Eng) 74 72 67, 

214 A Oldcorn (Sco) 72 70 72, 

215 D O'Sullivan (Irl) 72 73 70, G Wolstenholme (Eng) 76 71 68, (€ 2,655 each)

216 P O'Malley (Aus) 77 72 67, N Job (Eng) 71 76 69, B McGovern (Irl) 71 77 68, (€ 2,419 each)

217 K Tarling (Can) 71 73 73, A Franco (Par) 72 74 71, 

218 S Brown (Eng) 74 70 74, P Mayo (Wal) 74 74 70, B Lane (Eng) 73 71 74, M Farry (Fra) 73 70 75, R Drummond (Sco) 80 68 70, 

219 A Sherborne (Eng) 74 77 68, 

220 A Forsbrand (Swe) 69 76 75, M Davis (Eng) 77 71 72, C Monasterio (Arg) 77 70 73, G Emerson (Eng) 69 78 73, 

222 P Evans (Wal) 77 74 71,

223 D Smyth (Irl) 74 75 74, J Carriles (Esp) 80 72 71, (€ 1,253 each)

225 G Brand (Eng) 71 77 77, G Brand Jnr (Sco) 73 74 78, 

229 G Davies (Wal) 79 76 74,

231 E Darcy (Irl) 77 81 73 (€1,088)