Fung reaches landmark with Nilai title

Nicholas Fung
Nicholas Fung

Nilai [NEGERI SEMBILAN]: A refreshed Nicholas Fung snapped a year-long winless streak with a comfortable victory at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour Nilai Springs Championship on Saturday.

Returning to action after a well-deserved break in his native Kota Kinabalu last week, the 24-year-old wrapped up a solid wire-to-wire display with a one-under 71 for a gallant six-shot victory over Kemarol Baharin (68) at the Nilai Springs Golf & Country Club.

Fung totalled 11-under-277 to clinch a record 10th win on the flourishing domestic circuit and in the process, becoming the first player to win in every of the Tour’s five season.

“I definitely felt good this whole week. I felt I needed a break after missing the cut at my last event on the Asian Tour (True Thailand Classic) and it was great to just take my mind off golf and celebrate the Lunar New Year with my family and loved ones,” said the two-time Order of Merit winner, who set a new course record with his second round effort of seven-under 65.

“My game held itself in good stead and my putting was just brilliant, especially as I went bogey-free through the halfway stage. Struggled a bit over the last 36 holes as the wind picked up but I was ahead by four shots coming into the final round today, so the goal was to avoid any silly mistakes and let the chasing pack do the work,” added Fung, who notched two birdies against a bogey.

Despite being pleased with his landmark achievement, Fung admitted that he is far from his best. “I never imagined that I would become the first player to reach 10 wins on the PGM Tour and I’m delighted to have that record attached to my young career.

“My form over the last six months has been pretty disappointing. I’ve been tinkering around with my putting stroke and it hasn’t been doing my confidence a whole good. Winning here is important because it shows that I’m on the right track and hopefully, I can go back to my usual routine of at least two wins a season,” noted the Sabahan, whose last win came at the PGM Kelantan Championship last March.

Shaaban Hussin (74) missed a short birdie on the closing hole to finish sole third in the RM180,000 tournament, one stroke clear of youngster Jeremiah Kim (71), who clinched his best finish on Tour with a three-under 285 overall.

Leading final round scores (Par-72):

277 – Nicholas Fung 68-65-73-71
283 – Kemarol Baharin 71-72-72-68
284 – Shaaban Hussin 70-70-70-74
285 – Jeremiah Kim Leun Kwang 71-70-73-71
286 – Hans Jamil 73-73-70-70
287 – Low Khai Jei (A) 73-73-73-68, Mohd Azman Basharudin 73-71-72-71
289 – Ben Leong 73-70-73-73, S. Sivachandhran 76-69-71-73
290 – P. Gunasagaran 73-72-73-72, Airil Rizman Zahari 72-70-74-74, Mohd Rizal Amin 75-71-69-75