Ayer Keroh: Nicholas Fung overturned a three-shot final-round deficit to squeeze past Zurie Harun and win the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Melaka Classic by a single shot on Saturday.
The Malaysian number one took advantage of a hot start to close with a solid two-under 70 at Ayer Keroh Country Club – clinching his third PGM Tour title of the season with a three-over 291 total.
Zurie, who was six strokes adrift at the start of the final round, made a late charge with four birdies in his closing six holes to set the clubhouse mark with a four-under 68 but settled for second in the RM180,000 tournament.
Overnight leader Kemarol Baharin was a further shot adrift in third as a poor three-over 75 saw his title challenge go up in smokes as S. Sivachandhran (70) and Shaaban Hussin (72) rounded of the top five with matching 295s.
Having claimed two titles apiece in his 2011 and 2012 seasons, Fung was naturally delighted to extend his lead on the Order of Merit race with another personal best.
“I’m really pleased with my consistency of late and delighted to pick up another title. Winning breeds confidence and as I’ve mentioned many times before, my target at the start of year was to defend my status as the Tour’s number one and every victory brings me a step closer to achieving that objective,” said the 23-year-old Sabahan.
Fung birdied his opening two holes before adding another on the sixth to move a shot clear of Kemarol but did not know of Zurie’s exploits until his second shot on the 18th. “I was just focused on my own game as the fast-running fairways and unpredictable greens, especially on the back nine, were posing a challenge on their own,” added Fung, who traded a birdie on tenth with a bogey on 17th.
“It was an official who told me that Zurie had set the clubhouse lead at four-over and that definitely turned on the pressure. I took it in my stride and secured a par which was good enough to win,” he noted, adding that he hoped to seal his berth at the CIMB Classic with another solid showing at the PGM MNRB Sarawak Masters next week.
Despite falling short in the end, Zurie was nonetheless delighted that the minor changes to his swing are beginning to gain traction. “I’m pleased with my overall effort and I can take heart that this is my best finish of the year. I felt that the momentum was building up after I birdied the 13th but on hindsight, I’d probably should have taken some of my earlier chances earlier,” shared Zurie.
Leading final round scores
291 – Nicholas Fung 76-72-73-70
292 – Zurie Harun 77-74-73-68
293 – Kemarol Baharin 76-69-73-75
295 – S. Sivachandhran 77-73-75-70, Shaaban Hussin 74-73-76-72
297 – Kenneth De Silva 77-74-76-70, Airil Rizman Zahari 79-72-75-71,
S. Murthy 74-73-76-74
298 – R. Nachimuthu 75-78-72-73, Shaifubari Muda 73-76-76-73