Kuching: Nicholas Fung cruised to his second straight title on the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour after lifting the PGM Sarawak Classic with a massive nine-stroke advantage today.
The 21-year-old from Kota Kinabalu who had a four-shot advantage coming into the final round, continued his scintillating form at Kelab Golf Sarawak, closing with a final round of four-under 68 for a 17-under 271 total. The victory not only earned him a prize share of RM42,000 in the RM250,000 event but saw him complete an unique Borneo double, after having claimed the PGM Sabah Classic at his home course in Sabah Golf & Country Club in late July.
Previous winners Md Rashid Ismail (71) and R. Nachimuthu (73) settled for a share of second place after a neck-to-neck battle with M. Sasidaran a further three shots adrift in sole fourth with five-under 283 overall after finishing with a 73. Sukree Othman was fifth on 286 with first day leader S. Murthy recovering with a 70 to finish alongside Khor Kheng Hwai in tied sixth.
After making turn with a flawless 33 – highlighted by three birdies, the sophomore pro drained two more birdies on the homeward stretch to lift his third professional title. “I am very happy I played quite well on all the for days, except for the second day when I missed a lot of greens but luckily my recovery game was good which enabled me to get up and down or even made birdies.
“I felt a little comfortable with my lead after the birdie at ninth as didn’t sense that my flightmates (Rashid and Nachimuthu) were making a move to challenge my position,” said Fung.
His only blemish of the round coming at the par-five 15th when he overshot the green and landed in the water hazard. He recovered for bogey.
A walk in the park it wasn’t for the experienced duo of Rashid and Nachimuthu, who battled it out until the end for the runner-up place. After Rashid converted a lucky birdie at the difficult par-four 16th to move level, the 40-year-old Nachimuthu drove his tee-shot into the water at the penultimate par-three hole to fall two back before Rashid bogeyed the finishing hole after a brush with a bunker to end level.
Rashid said he didn’t score well today because his iron play was quite below par. “In this game you have to make the green to feel comfortable and Nicholas was superb with his iron play,” added the Johor Classic winner, who overtook the absent Danny Chia, who was participating in the Asian Tour’s ISPS Handa Singapore Classic, as the new PGM Order of Merit leader with a whooping total of RM107,868.
Nachimuthu said he was unlucky to go into the water at the par-3 17th. “Otherwise I was happy with my game except my new putting style needs some working.
Meanwhile best amateur was Asri Khalid who shot 302 (71-75-82-74). The three other amateurs who survived the cut were Malcolm Tay with 303 (72-74-79-78), Jordan Tay 312 (79-74-82-77) and Jordan Lim 313 (80-76-75-82).
The PGM Sarawak Classic was the 12th leg of the burgeoning PGM Tour, which began in December last year.
Leading final round scores
271 Nicholas Fung 69-67-67-68
280 Md Rashid Ismail 70-69-70-71
280 R.Nachimuthu 68-70-69-73
283 M. Sasidaran 69-71-70-73
286 Sukree Othman74-73-70-69
289 S. Murthy 67-78-74-70, Khor Kheng Hwai 75-70-70-74
290 Akhmal Tarmizee 70-73-73-74
292 Kemarol Baharin 73-72-69-78
294 M. Rizal Amin 73-73-75-72
295 Sofian Kepli 73-75-73-74