AIDRIC Chan became the first Filipino to win a Junior World Championship crown in five years, hitting a clutch birdie on No. 16 to edge New Zealand’s Jimmy Zheng by one in the boys’ centerpiece division in the Junior World Championships on Friday at Torrey Pines North in San Diego (Saturday, Manila time).
Chan needed to gut it out in the last two holes to pull off the stirring victory, coming through with clutch pars and watching Zheng flub a pair of tying birdie putts to preserve the lead he gained with a solid drive and approach shot to within 10 feet which he banged in on the 16th.
He closed out with a 69 for a 72-hole total of 277, while Zheng carded a 71 for a 278.
“I worked hard for the past few weeks and took some time competing on international soil and trying to finish well,” said Chan, who also banked on his superb putting to hack out the victory. “My putting has been well for the whole week and I knew I had to make it (putt on No. 16).”
That practically shook off Zheng’s composure as he muffed his own birdie bid from shorter range.
“I still had I had to play smart on the last two to buck the pressure,” said the incoming University of Arizona student, who honed his talent and skills under the Manila Southwoods golf program.
Despite a mediocre 72 start, Chan said he believed he could still rally and win “but I didn’t put that in mind.”
“I just played my own game for the whole week. I felt like I had a chance at the end of the third day since I was at striking distance,” said Chan who also won the National pro-am at Splendido in May with Rey Pagunsan.
Daniella Uy was the last Pinoy winner in the annual event which features the world's leading and rising age-groupers, winning the girls' 15-17 in 2014.