Kuala Lumpur: It was a case of so close yet so far for Danny Chia as he fell short off his target at the Maybank Malaysian Open.
Despite a brilliant start with three birdies in his opening four holes, the 42-year-old veteran fell victim to the treacherous wind-swept back nine of Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club’s West Course to end his campaign with a humbling two-over 74 on Sunday.
That left him to settle for a share of 25th alongside rising amateur star Gavin Kyle Green and five others to take home a share of US$28,950 at the Asian Tour season-opening event.
Chia, who is Malaysia’s first winner on the Asian Tour, turned in 34 but staggered home in 40 for a four-under-par 284 total.
“I knew that I needed to score on the first nine and I did just that but I didn’t manage to get through on the tougher holes very well today. The wind began to swirl a lot harder on the back nine and it caught me off guard. Hit a number of good shots but unfortunately, ended up with some awkwards bogeys,” said Chia, who dropped shots on #9, #11, #13 and #15.
Chia was nonetheless able to count on the positives after flirting with a top-ten finish, which would have been the best performance by a domestic professional in over two decades.
“I reckon that mentally and my ball striking wise, this would be one of my best Malaysian Open. I feel really good about the way I played and how confident I was on the golf course but I have to admit that KLGCC is a tough tract to figure out,” he added.
With his game now showing signs of returning to its best following a length injury break, Chia will now head to the True Thailand Classic and Hero Indian Open on the Asian Tour in coming weeks with renewed enthusiasm in his step.
“I’m just so happy to be playing golf and playing so much better than before. I think my brushes with injuries have matured me a lot. I can foresee how would I fare in a particular tournament and I’m experienced enough to deal with bad days like today and just move on,” noted Chia.
Malaysians as they fared – final results >
284 – Danny Chia 67-74-69-74, Gavin Kyle Green (Am) 74-68-69
290 – Sukree Othman 73-71-70-76
295 – Nicholas Fung 71-71-76-77
297 – R. Nachimuthu 73-72-75-77