Scotland (Reuters) – Danny Chia, who this week became the first Malaysian to make the cut in a British Open, said on Sunday that he now felt he belonged among golf’s elite.
“To play on the world stage and compete with world class players and in tough conditions, I didn’t find myself any different from them,” he told reporters after a closing two-under-par 70 gave him a two-over total of 290.
“This week I controlled my emotions really well and I didn’t get too upset with myself after making a bad decision. It’s a huge confidence booster for me.”
Chia will pick up around 11,000 pounds ($16,870) after finishing ahead of players like former U.S. Masters champion Zach Johnson, WGC-Accenture Match Play winner Ian Poulter and European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie.
The 37-year-old ended his campaign with a flourish, driving the green at the 18th hole before two-putting for a birdie three in front of the iconic St Andrews clubhouse.
Early starter Chia said Sunday morning’s light winds and bright sunshine meant the Old Course was at the mercy of the players.
“Conditions were much easier, it was probably the easiest of the four rounds,” said the Malaysian.
Chia had the crowd on its feet after producing a moment of magic at the ‘Road’ hole.
For the first time in the tournament he hit the fairway off the tee at the fiendishly difficult 495-yard 17th before missing the green after pulling his approach.
Chia then conjured a brilliant recovery which almost disappeared into the cup for a rare birdie.
“I couldn’t make up my mind how to hit the second shot,” he said. “I was thinking of flying it on to the flat area of the green and run the ball up but my caddie said it wouldn’t stop.
“I then chose a different shot which I couldn’t visualize in my head and hit a bad one. I got lucky as it missed the bunker and then I hit a very good chip which nearly went in.”
(Editing by Miles Evans)