Shah Alam: Asian Tour rookie Joonas Granberg announced his arrival on the big stage by lifting the 2011 Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters today at the Kota Permai Golf & Country Club.
The 25-year-old Finnish wonder closed with a stellar round of six-under-par 66 for a 15-under- par 273 total to see off the challenge of overnight leader Panuphol Pittayarat, who finished one shot behind after registering a 71.
Adam Groom, who was tied for the lead alongside Granberg through 17 holes, once again suffered the agony of defeat after a spectacular collapse on the finishing hole.
The unlucky Australian, searching for his first Asian Tour title, four-putted for a seven after pulling of a superb recovery from an errant drive to the edge of the hazard. He settled for a share of third place on 13-under-par 275 alongside seasoned Filipino Antonio Lascuna.
Granberg, who has three wins on his home tour, started the final round four shots off the lead but got off to a flying start with an eagle on his opening hole from 10 feet before turning in 33. He sank birdies on the 11th and 14th holes before pulling off what was eventually the winning birdie at the demanding par three 17th hole.
“I didn’t think my first win will come so soon. There are so many good players on the Asian Tour and I didn’t play very well in my first four events in Asia. I thought I had a chance for a top-10 or top-five but now, I’m a winner,” said Granberg, who earned US$60,902 for his victory
“The eagle on the first was very good. It relaxed my feeling so much. Then I had a good birdie on the third and I was more relaxed. I just played it one shot at a time. I walked very relaxed and that was my secret. I said yesterday that 66 would be okay and now I’m the winner. It’s amazing,” explained the Finn, who came through the Qualifying School in January.
“On 17, I hit a five iron with a fade. It was a very tough pin position but I hit it straight at the flag. It ended two and half meters for the birdie. I thought I needed to birdie 18 for a play-off (which he parred). I don’t know what happened to Adam. I was expecting at least a play-off as the 18th is a good birdie hole,” added Granberg.
Leading the local cheers was Sukree Othman, who took full advantage of his familiarity with the Kota Permai layout, carding a stunning round of seven-under 65 to surge up the leaderboard.
The 35-year-old resident professional at the host venue mixed eight birdies against a sole bogey on the 16th for a tied fifth finish with Australian Marcus Both and Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh and his career best finish on the Asian Tour.
“I didn’t expect to shoot such a low score today but deep inside my heart, I wanted to give it my very best shot. I would have loved to have shot a 62 but this is my personal best at this course and of course, I’m very happy with my performance.
“I managed to do well under pressure in the final round which is surely a positive. When I chipped in from 30 yards for a birdie on the 15th, the thought did cross my mind that this could be my day,” he added.
The day of drama was also highlighted by a stunning albatross from Japanese Ryutaro Nagano. He achieved the Asian Tour’s 16th albatross in history on the par five 12th hole when he holed out from 247 yards with a five wood. It was his career first albatross which helped him secure tied 49th place after a closing 69.
Leading final round scores
273 Joonas Granberg (FIN) (62-75-70-66)
274 Panuphol Pittayarat (THA) (71-65-67-71)
275 Adam Groom (AUS) (68-73-66-68), Antonio Lascuna (PHI) (70-69-66-70)
276 Sukree Othman (71-70-70-65), Marcus Both (AUS) (70-67-72-67 , Siddikur (68-70-70-68)
277 Chan Tse-peng (TPE) (72-66-71-68) , Tjaar Van Der Walt (NED) (65-74-70-68)
278 Mo Joong-kyung (KOR (67-74-73-64), S. Sivachandhran (72-69-67-70)