Salvador upbeat despite second play-off defeat

Kuala Lumpur: Elmer Salvador of the Philippines is not disheartened despite two play-offs losses now on the Asian Tour as he takes pride in his battling display at the HANDA FALDO Cambodian Classic last week.

The 42-year-old Salvador is fast gaining a reputation as the dark horse on the Asian Tour after going into extra time with rising star and eventual winner David Lipsky of the United States at the newest US$300,000 Asian Tour event at the Angkor Golf Resort.

With a never-say-never attitude, Salvador almost stole the show before a magical chip-in birdie by Lipsky on the first extra hole dashed Salvador’s hopes of erasing last year’s play-off defeat to Himmat Rai of India at the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic.

“It was a good chip, like a billiard shot the way he stopped the ball. You can’t do anything about that. My putting was sometimes good and sometimes bad so that was a factor,” said Salvador, who has an average of 28.1 putts per round in three Asian Tour events thus far.

His second place finish pushed him up the Order of Merit to 14th place where he has won US$37,612 this season.

“I still feel happy despite losing two times in a play-off. I don’t know why but I’ll keep trying. I’m happy with my performance. I played well all of last week,” added Salvador.

The story of the week belonged to the jubilant Korean-American Lipsky, whose come from behind win at the HANDA FALDO Cambodian Classic mirrored his victory at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in Thailand.

Lipsky overcame a seven-shot deficit in Cambodia and was one shot from the overnight leaders at Qualifying School before making a final round charge. His maiden win is testament of the immensely talented cast of Asian Tour graduates this season.

“I really can’t believe I’m here right now and I’ve won the event. I won Qualifying School and I knew I had the game in me. I’m happy it showed up here (Cambodia),” said the 23-year-old graduate from the Chicago Northwestern University, the same as current world number one Luke Donald who had sent him a congratulatory message via Twitter.

“I’m happy to be here and see where it takes me. I didn’t come here with a lot of expectations and just tried my best. This is phenomenal as it opens up so many doors for me. We’ll see what happens,” he added.

Lipsky’s victory propelled him to eighth placing on the Order of Merit with winnings of US$47,550, having missed two cuts in his first two events. Jbe Kruger of South Africa, winner of the Avantha Masters in India, still leads the money rankings on US$394,589.

Marcus Fraser of Australia is in second place on US$109,380 while Prom Meesawat of Thailand is trailing closely in third place with winnings of US$103,187.

Anirban Lahiri of India, who will defend the Panasonic Open India next week, is in fourth place (US$73,677) followed by Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand in fifth position (US$71,408).

The Asian Tour will travel to the US$300,000 Panasonic Open India staged at the venerable Delhi Golf Club from March 29 to April 1.

Asian Tour Order of Merit – Top-20

Pos. Player Order of Merit (US$)
1. Jbe KRUGER (RSA) $394,589
2. Marcus FRASER (AUS) $109,380
3. Prom MEESAWAT (THA) $103,187
4. Anirban Lahiri (Ind) $73,677
5. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) $71,408
6. Mardan MAMAT   (SIN) $62,187
7. Kieran PRATT (AUS) $53,468
8. David LIPSKY (USA) $47,550
9. SIDDIKUR (BAN) $45,716
10. Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA)  $42,851
11. Scott BARR (AUS)  $42,237
12. Chapchai NIRAT (THA) $40,065
13. Marcus BOTH (AUS) $38,760
14. Elmer SALVADOR (PHI) $37,612
15. Adam BLYTH (AUS) $36,195
16. Ben FOX (USA) $34,878
17. MO Joong-kyung (KOR) $33,510
18. Zaw MOE (MYN) $30,897
19. Felipe AGUILAR (CHI) $29,546
20. Scott HEND (AUS) $28,659