Nicholas romps to Johor win

Nicholas Fung ©Arep Kulal|PGM
Nicholas Fung ©Arep Kulal

Johor Bahru [JOHOR]:  Nicholas Fung put on a putting masterclass as he romped to a commanding 11-stroke victory at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Johor Championship on Saturday.

The two-time Order of Merit champion nailed nine birdies against a lone bogey to match his third round effort of eight-under-par 64 at the Johor Golf and Country Club.

Nicholas’ 11th title on the flourishing domestic circuit came courtesy of a winning total of 27-under-par 261, which was a stroke better than the Tour’s previous 72-hole best set by amateur sensation Gavin Kyle Green at the PGM Vascory Land Championship last year.

Seasoned campaigner R. Nachimuthu and Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing shared second place following identical 71s while newcomer Sean Riordan of New Zealand, who registered a 69, settled for fourth on 276 in the RM200,000 event, co-sanctioned with the Asian Development Tour.

The final round of the contest was suspended at 12.46pm local time due to lightning threats before resuming close to two hours later. The delay, however, did not dampen the spirits of Fung, who eventually became the third Malaysian to win on the ADT this season.

“I feel unstoppable out there. The birdies just kept coming,” said the 25-year-old Sabahan. “I didn’t expect this. I thought I would be under pressure playing with Lam and Nachimuthu but I reminded myself to just play my own game and not think too much. I enjoyed myself out there and I’m happy with the results,” said Fung, whose overnight four-shot lead was hardly threatened.

Despite failing to launch a charge, Lam is happy with his progress as he capped his third consecutive top-five finish on the burgeoning Tour this season.

“I have been doing well and I am happy with how I have progressed so far. Fung played really well this week. I believe my win will come soon if I remain consistent in my game,” said the 38-year-old Singaporean, who marked his card with four birdies against three bogeys.

Leading final round scores (Par-72) >
Malaysian unless stated
261 – Nicholas Fung 66-67-64-64
272 – R. Nachimuthu 64-68-69-71, Lam Chih Bing (SIN) 67-65-69-71
276 – Sean Riordan (NZL) 70-66-71-69
277 – Lindsay Renolds (CAN) 71-69-68-69, Masaru Takahashi (JPN) 70-68-64-75
278 – Wilson Choo 69-70-71-68
279 – Taylor Ekenberg (USA) 70-71-69-69
280 – Arie Irawan 71-70-73-66, Hsieh Chi-hsien (TPE) 66-75-70-69, Koh Denshan (SIN) 71-69-69-71, Gyeongjun Lee (KOR) 71-69-67-73