Wu Ashun claimed his fourth DP World Tour title after an exemplary final round display saw him overcome a four-shot deficit and soar to a four-stroke victory at the Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa.
The 36-year-old was already the most successful Chinese player in the Tour’s history, and his latest title is also one for the annals as he became the first Asian winner in the 55-year history of Kenya’s national open.
Wu began the day four shots back from leader Ewen Ferguson, but the Scot struggled right from the off and opened the door to a wave of title contenders throughout a thrilling day at Muthaiga Golf Club.
Despite a bogey at the second, Wu forced his way back into the mix and a run of four successive birdies from the seventh hole launched him into a two-stroke lead. Thereafter, he was composure personified and a birdie-birdie finish rounded off a six under 65 – his best round of the week – for a 16 under par winning total.
Germany’s Hurly Long and Canadian Aaron Cockerill both enjoyed the best results of their DP World Tour careers, sharing second place with Thriston Lawrence of South Africa, winner of the season-opening Joburg Open, on ten under par.
Wu Ashun: “It’s a very good feeling today to win this championship. It was very tough today, I played very well today and made seven birdies.
“After two rounds I told myself, if I can make five under every day on the weekend and finish 15 under, I think I’ll have a chance to win the tournament.
“Today I was four shots behind and still playing to my plan. Five under was my goal today and after ten holes I had a good felling, and I told myself I’ll keep playing and make a couple of birdies and it’s fine.
“My short game was good today also, I saved a couple of pars, my putting was good to make birdies on the 17th and 18th, which I’m happy about. I think a lot of Chinese people came to support me and I was happy to see them. It’s going to be a big celebration with my family here in Kenya with me, I’m so happy.”
Thriston Lawrence: “It was lovely, I couldn’t ask for any better. I just didn’t get the momentum from the 12th hole, hit a good shot on the 13th and missed the putt, hit an awesome drive on 14 but got a bad break and missed a four-footer there.
“The momentum dropped on the back nine, played aggressive on the last two holes, went for the green on 17 and birdied that, got unfortunate on 18 but seven shots behind, I gave it my all.”
Hurly Long: “It was a nice putt at ten, it had some speed but it was dead centre so it was a nice momentum boost. I mean I was playing well but that really got me up there near the top with a chance to go for it.
“I was just trying to play the way I have been playing. It’s important to me in those situations to know that I’m going to make gutsy swings and it doesn’t matter what’s coming, I’m going to still hit good shots so I was just enjoying it. It was a lot of fun definitely.”
Aaron Cockerill: “I’ve played the tenth hole well all week, it suits my eye off the tee to just cut it around the corner and I hit a wedge close the last couple of days and was able to make the putts. I holed a bomb on 11 which was a nice bonus and at that point I knew I had a chance so I just tried to finish strong, and I kind of did.
“I wanted a bit more at the end there but I’m happy with the week. I just stuck to my gameplan, on 17 and 18 even though the tee was up there on 17. You could have hit driver on 18 but I stuck to my gameplan. I was able to make the birdie putt on 17 and was hoping for one more on 18 but it wasn’t mean to be.”