Johor Bharu: Abel Tam clinched a coveted spot at the prestigious Iskandar Johor Open after recovering from a sluggish start to triumph at the Johor Amateur Open on Friday.
The local lad returned with a round of two-over 74, which proved enough to overcome a charging Singapore’s Marc Ong (71) by one stroke at Horizon Hills Golf & Country Club. Overnight leader Thomas Tan slipped to a third after a poor closing 79.
Abel, who totalled six-over 222 to claim his third amateur open title of the year, has less than a fortnight to prepare for his third appearance at his ‘home’ Open.
“It feels great! I have played in the Iskandar Johor Open twice before [2008 & 2009] and I am happy to get another opportunity,” said the 20-year-old, who also played at the Maybank Malaysian Open and Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters this year.
“It’s an exciting prospect because I really take pride in the fact that including the IJO, I would have played three of the four major men’s professional championships in the country this year. We are all aspiring professionals so this is what it’s all about. This is what I want to do and I’m confident of putting on a good show,” he added.
In the ladies’ division, Kelly Tan clinched her first individual title of the year after strolling to a 11-shot victory over 2010 winner Koh Sock Hwee of Singapore. The 18-year-old lass from Batu Pahat carded rounds of 74, 72 and 71 for a one-0ver 217 overall to earn a start at the Iskandar Johor Open pro-am tournament.
The Johor Golf Association, which is the official sanctioning body for the US$2 million Asian Tour season-finale, also announced that it would extend two more sponsors’ invite to national top-ranked amateur Gavin Kyle Green and reigning Malaysian Junior Open champion Low Khai Jei.
The 19-year-old sophomore at University of New Mexico advanced into the weekend rounds during the 2009 Iskandar Johor Open at the then [Royal] Johor Golf & Country Club.
Leading final round scores
222 – Abel Tam Kwang Yuan 72-76-74
223 – Marc Ong (SIN) 74-78-71
226 – Thomas Tan (SIN 77-70-79
233 – Billie Pay 80-77-76
234 – Nicklaus Chiam (SIN) 77-75-82
236 – Roszali Baharuddin 78-73-85
237 – Faidrul Hilmie Idris 84-76-77, Abdul Hadi 83-75-79, Jeremy Chan 79-76-82
242 – Kiishan Tharmalingam 79-84-79, Low Wee Jin 82-78-82, Azmer Merzam 83-73-86
217 – Kelly Tan 74-72-71
228 – Koh Sock Hwee (SIN) 78-75-75
236 – Hilferah Tan 80-74-82
237 – Amelia Yong (SIN) 80-74-82
241 – Renata Riza Dimaya 85-78-78, Joey Poh (SIN) 78-83-80
246 – Nadhra Aqilah (SIN) 82-83-81
252 – Qistina Balqis Azhar 88-81-83, Yeyen Safitri (INA) 84-80-83
253 – Lim Jia Yi 87-83-83