Nachimuthu prevails in Kelantan

R. Nachimuthu ©Azhari Yusop|PGM
R. Nachimuthu ©Azhari Yusop|PGM

Pengkalan Chepa [KELANTAN]: R. Nachimuthu birdied the third extra hole to beat Shaaban Hussin in a play-off on Saturday and clinch the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour Kelantan Championship.

Overnight leader Nachimuthu traded three birdies with one bogey to return with a one-under 71  but was matched on seven-under 281 by Shaaban, who stormed home with a course record five-under 67 at the Kelantan Golf & Country Club.

That set up an exciting play-off, which went the distance as both players parred the first two holes before Nachimuthu managed to connect on the third time of asking to cash in at the RM180,000 tournament.

“This was a tough victory. Some players win by big margins, but I seem to always have to grind out a win. But I am still very happy with the outcome. Shaaban played really well but I stayed composed under pressure and managed to wrap it up in the end,” said the 2011 Order of Merit champion.

“I missed a couple of events at the start of the season due to family matters and it took me a while to get into my stride. The last couple of weeks I’ve been striking the ball well but my  approach shots were just not spot-on. But I managed to perfect that this week and I’m pleased with my eighth Tour title,” added Nachimuthu, whose last win came at the Impian Championship last April.

Despite coming up just short, Shaaban said: I am a little disappointed to have lost in the play-off but really pleased with effort today. I gave myself a big target to chase but other than the bogey on the 17th, I gave myself a chance at winning again.”

A further three strokes back from the pair in sole third was Airil Rizman (72) while Nicholas Fung (68) and Akhmal Tarmizee (72) settled for joint fourth on 285.

Young amateur Low Khai Jei continued his brilliant run on form on the flourishing domestic circuit, carding a final round 70 to finish alone in fifth place.

Leading final round scores >

281 – R. Nachimuthu 68-72-70-71, Shaaban Hussin 72-69-73-67
Nachimuthu wins on third play-off hole
284 – Airil Rizman Zahari 71-69-72-72
285 – Nicholas Fung 74-73-70-68, Akhmal Tarmizee Nazari 71-70-72-72
286 – Low Khai Jei(A) 71-75-70-70
287 – Sukree Othamn 74-71-72-70
288 – Mohd Azman Basharudin 70-74-73-71, Kemarol Baharin 72-72-71-73
289 – Mohd Rizal Amin 70-74-71-74, S. Murthy 68-69-76-76