Mardan seals A’Famosa victory

Mardan Mamat ©ArepKulal/PGM
Mardan Mamat ©ArepKulal/PGM

Alor Gajah: Experience played a hand as Singapore’s Mardan Mamat nursed his overnight lead to prevail by four shots at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) ASEAN A’Famosa Masters on Saturday.

Despite a blunder on the tenth when he dropped a double bogey, the 45-year-old rallied back with three birdies over the last seven holes to close with a two-under 70 at A’Famosa Golf Resort for a 15-under 273 winning total and his third ASEAN PGA crown.

Khor Kheng Hwai pulled himself within two shots off Mardan with three birdies but a couple of missed birdie opportunities late on meant that the 27-year-old finished second with a flawless 69.

Ratchapol Juntavara (70) of Thailand and former domestic Order of Merit champion R. Nachimuthu (73)  took a share of third on seven-under 281 with Rizal Amin (71) a further shot adrift in fifth

Mardan expressed his delight with his victory, which followed successes in the PGM CCM Impian Masters last year and the Mercedes-Benz Masters Malaysia in 2010.

“Winning means a lot to me as it is the result of the hard work I’ve put in to my game and fitness. I am still hungry for wins and this is definitely a boost in my confidence as I enter what it usually the more tougher half of the season. In my years as a professional, I have enjoyed playing in Malaysia and the wins have always followed,” he noted.

Mardan made the turn with two birdies against a bogey but the double bogey on the tenth proved a wake-up call for the veteran Singaporean.”It was quite a grind out there today. I was one-under after the front nine and dropping two shots on the tenth was pretty disappointing.

“I was aware that Khor (playing the flight ahead of him) was doing well, so I told myself to get over the setback and keep going and I was rewarded with birdies on the closing two holes to seal the win,” added Mardan, who walked home with his share of RM30,225.

Khor was counting the positives after his third straight week in contention on the ASEAN PGA Tour. “It’s my best career finish, so I’ll take that anytime! Coming towards the end, I was striking the ball pretty well but I was not so confident with my putts and left two glorious birdie chances on 16th and 17th lagging.”

“But looking back, I’m pretty happy with how I improved over the last two days and it’s good to see that the swing changes I’ve made recently with my coach Ng Shern Wei has raised my game to a higher level,” said the 27-year-old, who clinched leaderboard finishes at the Singha Pattaya Open and  Luang Prabang Lao Open recently.

Leading final round scores
273 -Mardan Mamat (SIN) 69-69-65-70
277 – Khor Kheng Hwai 68-69-71-69
281 – Ratchapol Juntavara (THA) 71-67-73-70, R. Nachimuthu 73-67-68-73
282 – Rizal Amin 69-6973-71
283 – Kenneth De Silva 70-70-73-70, Iylia Jamil 71-68-72-72, S. Murthy 63-73-74-73, Airil Rizman Zahari 69-72-69-73
285 – Anis Helmi Hassan 72-67-69-77