Petaling Jaya: National amateur Abel Tam clinched his fourth amateur start at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters in five years after emerging as the overall champion of the Etiqa Selangor International Junior Masters on Saturday.
The 20-year-old Johorean registered rounds of 74, 71 and 73 at the challenging Seri Selangor Golf Club to defend the boys’ under-21 title which he won last year and in the process, top the field of 101 golfers with a five-over 218 aggregate.
Boys’ under-18 champion Muhammad Naqiuddin Mohd Fuad and youngster Galven Kendall Green, who triumphed in the boys’ under-15 division will join Abel in the start list for the US$400,000 Asian Tour sanctioned event, which will be played the same venue from June 23-26.
In the sole girls’ under-21 division, Genevive Ling I-Rynn successfully retained her title, carding rounds of 72, 70 and 73 for a composed 15-stroke victory over Chong Yong while Khavish Varman Varadan eased to boys’ under-12 title on the back of rounds of 70, 76 and 71, defeating Victor Ng Yu Kai by ten shots.
Abel, who received the challenge trophy from Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and Etiqa Takaful Berhad chief executive Ahmad Rizlan Azman, admitted that his putting proved the difference over the tournament.
“It was quite frustrating initially because I struggled with the greens here, which were rolling truer and much faster than Royal Pahang Golf Club [which hosted the Malaysian Amateur Open] last week. The wind was also up during the opening two rounds and that made it even tougher but I came unstuck in the end with some solid putting over the last two rounds,” said Abel, who also picked up a prize for nailing a hole-in-one on Friday.
“I always look forward to playing in this tournament because it is a gateway for amateurs like myself to earn a slot at the prestigious Selangor Masters. It’s an invaluable experience to tee-off alongside some of the Asian Tour’s top stars and challenge yourself to play to the best of your ability, so I am definitely pleased with the win,” he added.
Consistency over three rounds proved the cornerstone of Genevieve’s success and the US-bound player was delighted with her victory.
“It was a little tougher today but I had an eight-shot cushion starting the round, so I just set out to enjoy my game today and come home with the win,” said the 17-year-old, who has earned a scholarship to pursue collegiate golf at Boise State University in Idaho.
An elated Naqiuddin was excited at the prospect of teeing up at a professional event for the first time and hopes to put on an improved display.
“I’m really looking forward to it, even if I expect it to be a daunting challenge. I’m still recovering from a niggling lower back problem which has curtailed the number of tournaments I have played this year, so to come here and play so well, especially the three-under-par 68 yesterday, was a real confidence booster,” shared the 17-year-old.