Ashun beats Howell to historic home soil victory
Wu Ashun became the first Chinese player to win a European Tour event on home soil as he held off a spirited challenge from England’s David Howell at the Volvo China Open.
The Chinese national recorded his third professional win, and maiden European Tour title after carding a final round one-under par, nine-under for the tournament.
Howell, a former Ryder Cup star, had initially took the lead when he got up-and-down from a second hole bunker to birdie, but he bogeyed the fourth after a poor chip and a birdie from 15 feet on the fifth took Wu one ahead.
Englishman David Howell provided a challenge until the final hole, but a his bogey was enough to hand victory to Ashun.
Howell missed the 18th fairway and then the green before missing his eight foot par putt to take the tournament to a playoff.
The Englishman said: “It’s obviously tough to take.
"I was in very good shape to win the tournament for most of the day, and didn’t get the job done.
"So it’s going to hurt for a while, but I didn’t do a lot wrong.
“I holed a lovely putt on 17 to save par to give myself every chance coming down the last.
"It felt like I was already in a play-off, because Ashun was in the clubhouse on nine under, so if I birdie the last I win the tournament, and if I make bogey I lose it.
"Unfortunately it was the latter.”
Wu, who primarily plies his trade on the Japan Golf Tour said: “It’s a wonderful day today.
“Everyone knows it’s very tough today, I played very good today and I’ve enjoyed this week.
“It’s been a wonderful week with wonderful weather and I’d like to thank everybody.
“It’s very special winning the China Open and it’s very exciting.
“I have many friends here, and they helped me a lot and pushed me to play well.”
The 29-year old now has an exemption status for European Tour events with this win.