Shanghai, China (SportsNetwork.com) - Ashun Wu carded a 1-under 71 in Sunday's final round to earn a one-stroke win at the China Open.
Wu finished at 9-under-par 279 and became the first China native to win a European Tour event on home soil. Wu's best previous tour finish was a tie for 11th at the 2013 Malaysian Open.
"It's a wonderful day today. Everyone knows it's very tough today. I played very good today and I've enjoyed this week," said Wu, who mainly plays on the Japan Golf Tour. "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."
David Howell, who shared the third-round lead with Wu, Alexander Levy and Hao- tong Li, managed an even-par 72 to end alone in second place at minus-8.
Levy, last year's champion, tripped to a 1-over 73 and shared third place at 7-under-par 281 with Emiliano Grillo (69) and Prom Meesawat (71).
Li, last week's runner-up, stumbled to a 2-over 74 at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club and ended alone in sixth place at 6-under-par 282. Richie Ramsay (73) was one stroke further back at minus-5.
Though there was a four-way tie to start the round, it was mostly a two-man race on Sunday. Howell moved in front early as he got up and down for birdie on the second. However, he gave that shot back with a bogey at the fourth.
Wu grabbed the lead with a 15-foot birdie putt at No. 5 and Howell joined him there thanks to a birdie at the sixth from 20 feet out. Both players faltered to bogeys at the eighth. Howell atoned for that error with a birdie at the ninth.
Wu got back to 9-under when he birdied the par-4 10th, but Howell moved one clear as he poured in a 30-foot birdie effort at the 11th. The Englishman gave that shot back as he bogeyed the par-4 14th for the third straight round.
That created a tie at minus-9 with Wu, who had parred his last four holes from the 11th and went on to par the last four as well. That left it to Howell.
Howell parred three in a row from the 15th. At the last, he was left with an 8-foot par putt to force a playoff, but missed to give Wu his first tour win.
"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," Howell stated.
"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 playoff, because Ashun was in the clubhouse on 9-under, so if I birdie the last I win the tournament, and if I make bogey I lose it. Unfortunately, it was the latter."
Levy bogeyed the first, but recovered that stroke with a birdie on the third. He fell off the pace with a double-bogey at the par-3 eighth. The Frenchman wrapped birdies at 12 and 15 around bogeys at 13 and 14. Levy birdied the 17th and parred the last to share third.
Li dropped shots at one and five to slip to 6-under. He birdied the eighth, but gave that back when he bogeyed 11. Li jumped back into the mix thanks to an eagle on the par-5 13th. Bogeys at 14 and 18 dropped Li back to minus-6.
NOTES: Wu, who was the sixth first-time winner on the European Tour this season, earned 498,095 euros for the victory ... Wu became the first China native to win on the European Tour since Wen-chong Liang claimed the 2007 Singapore Masters ... The tour will be in California next week for the WGC- Cadillac Match Play Championship, where Jason Day will defend his title.