Amateur Daeng tops Danau contest

Daeng Abdul Rahman Abd Aziz ©Azhari Yusop|PGM
Daeng Abdul Rahman Abd Aziz ©Azhari Yusop|PGM

BANGI [Selangor]: Teenager Daeng Abdul Rahman Abdul Aziz upstaged the professionals with a clinical  single-stroke victory at the RM180,000 Danau Championship on Saturday, becoming the youngest ever player to win on the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour.

Staying cool under pressure, the national amateur preserved his one-shot overnight lead with a closing effort of two-under 70 to cap a classy performance well beyond his years at the Danau Golf Club.

Daeng, who celebrated his 15th birthday last week, totalled 10-under 278 to lift the title ahead of seasoned professionals Sukree Othman (70) and Akhmal Tarmizee Nazari (69).

The reigning boys’ under-14 champion on The ClubHouse Junior Golf Rankings presented by Titleist eclipsed Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai, who was 15 years eight months when he emerged victorious at the CCM Rahman Putra Championship last month.

Kemarol Baharin returned with a second consecutive 72 to finish sole fourth on 282 with youngster Shahrifuddin Ariffin a shot back after a brilliant round of five-under 67.

The champion, meanwhile, was at the top of the world and beaming with delight. “I’m very happy and proud of my display this week. I came into the tournament with the aim of finishing as the best amateur and to stand here with the championship trophy is quite unbelievable. Felt confident from tee-to-green all week and putted with a lot of conviction,” shared the Johor junior, thanking his father who rallied him on.

Daeng endured a quiet start to his round but birdied the ninth to make the turn on nine-under alongside multiple winner Sukree.

A double bogey on #11 threatened to take the wind off his sails but he regained his composure with three consecutive birdies through #14 to move ahead of Sukree, who then dropped a costly bogey on #17 to see his challenge evaporate.

“I guess the pressure began to tell after the turn. I was tied for the lead and you start to think about the possibility of winning and just like that, I made a mess of my second shot from the rough on #11.

“Told myself that I needed to some birdies to make up for that and I nailed it from 18 metres on #14, chipped it next to the pin on the next hole before a solid birdie on #16. That was a crucial point of the game because it gave me a little cushion, which I managed to nurse till the end,” added Daeng, who is part of a rookie line-up preparing for the South East Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore next month.

Leading final results
279 – Sukree Othman 72-65-72-70, Akhmal Tarmizee 70-67-73-69
282 – Kemarol Baharin 71-67-72-72
283 – Shahriffuddin Ariffin 74-74-68-67
284 – R. Nachimuthu 73-68-73-70
285 – Shaaban Hussin 73-70-72-70, Mohd Rizal Amin 72-75-66-72
285 – Airil Rizman 71-70-71-73
286 – Bryan Teoh Wiyang (A) 73-69-75-69, Amir Nazrin (A) 72-74-70-70, Irfan Yusoff 72-70-72-72, Khor Kheng Hwai 69-68-76-73, Ben Leong 71-72-70-73, Kim Leun Kwang 71-71-70-74