Siva triumphs in Kelantan playoff

S. Sivachandhran ©Arep Kulal/PGM
S. Sivachandhran ©Arep Kulal/PGM

Pengkalan Chepa: S. Sivachandhran overcame a sluggish final round display to prevail in a play-off over rookie professional Muhammad Arie Fauzi Irawan at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Kelantan Classic on Thursday.

Leading by four strokes at the start of the day, the 34-year-old Siva produced a listless performance, mixing three bogeys with two birdies to come around with a one-over 73 at Kelantan Golf & Country Club for a 10-under 278 aggregate.

He was caught up by a fast-charging Arie – the exciting youngster closing with a five-under 67 on the back of a card of six birdies and a sole bogey – to force matters into extra holes.

Experience however played its hand, as Siva parred the first play-off hole to claim a moral-boosting second PGM Tour title – his first in nearly two years on the burgeoning domestic circuit.

“That was a real relief because I almost let it slip but I was mentally strong going into the playoff. I probably wanted that victory a little bit more in the end but I want to congratulate Arie, who did really well to come home with a 67 and gave it his best effort in the playoff,” said Siva, whose best result in 2013 was a runner-up finish at the I&P Kinrara Classic.

He added that he was moving in the right direction and hoped that the win would spur him even further.

“A win is always nice but I don’t think I’ve been posting consistent scores on all four rounds in a particular tournament  this year and that has really let me down. I know I have to keep working hard in practice and the areas of my game which I think will need extra attention are my driving and short game,” he added.

A disappointed Arie said that he was pleased with the way his game has been “progressing” and will continue to work as he finds his footing on the professional ranks.

“I only turned professional in April, so I know there is still a lot to learn. But I am happy with my performance here in Kelantan as I gave myself chances until the very end. As far as my overall game is concerned, I will just continue to stick to the basics and hopefully it will get better,” added Arie, who turns 23 in August.

Kenneth De Silva carded a 67 of his own to climb into a share of third alongside Haziq Hamizan (70) while local hotshot Mohd Nazri Mohd Zain, who grew up playing the layout,  shot a tournament low eight-under 64 to finish tied fifth with Shaaban Hussin (71) on 281

Leading final round scores
278 – S. Sivachandhran 71-68-66-73, Arie Fauzi 71-71-69-67
(Siva wins on first play-off hole)
279 – Kenneth De Silva 74-70-68-67, Haziq Hamizan 68-73-68-70
281 – Mohd Nazri Mohd Zain 71-75-71-64, Shaaban Hussin 70-69-71-71
282 – Airil Rizman 70-68-73-71
283 – S. Murthy 67-72-74-70, Azman Basharuddin 75-68-68-72, Sukree Othman 71-71-69-72, Nicholas Pua 73-69-69-72
285 – Akhmal Tarmizee 73-72-72-68, Wilson Choo 74-70-73-68, Khor Kheng Hwai 71-71-68-75
286 – R. Nachimuthu 76-72-68-70, Kemarol Baharin 72-68-75-71, Lam Yu Shuen 71-68-75-72