x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Chia finally feels like he belongs among world-class players

Danny Chia, who this week became the first Malaysian to make the cut in a British Open, said yesterday that he now felt he belonged among golf's elite.

ST ANDREWS // Danny Chia, who this week became the first Malaysian to make the cut in a British Open, said yesterday that he now felt he belonged among golf's elite. Chia will pick up around £11,000 (Dh61,816) after carding a final round of 70 to finish two-over par and finish ahead of players such as Zach Johnson, the former US Masters champion, Ian Poulter, the WGC-Accenture Match Play winner, and Colin Montgomerie, the European Ryder Cup captain.

Chia, 37, ended his campaign with a flourish, driving the green at the 18th hole before two-putting for a birdie three in front of the St Andrews clubhouse. "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 said. "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 said yesterday 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," he said. Chia had the crowd on their feet after producing a moment of magic at the Road hole 17th. 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 visualise 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."

* Reuters