Solid Paul victorious in KL

Kuala Lumpur Amateur Open winners Paul San and Nur Durriyah Damian
Kuala Lumpur Amateur Open winners Paul San and Nur Durriyah Damian

KUALA LUMPUR: Paul San ensured that his summer break back home culminated on a winning note by bouncing back from three strokes down to triumph at the Kuala Lumpur Amateur Open on Thursday.

The 18-year-old signed off with a solid two-under 70 to overhaul 36-hole leader Amir Nazrin Jailani (75) and withstood the late charge by Daeng Abdul Rahman Abdul Aziz (68) to claim a well-deserved single shot victory at Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam.

Paul, who is pursuing collegiate golf at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, totalled six-under 210 for his second state amateur title – a good three years since he won the Sabah Amateur Open in April 2012.

In the ladies division, national amateur Nur Durriyah Damian nursed her overnight advantage to finish two shots clear of compatriot Genevieve Ling I-Rynn, who eagled the closing hole to finish with an even-par 72 effort.

Holding at least a share of the lead throughout the tournament, Durriyah settled for a final round two-over 74 for a two-over 219 overall. Indonesia’s Rivani Adelia Sihotang (79) was third with 14-over-par 230 tournament total.

Despite a rocky start with two opening bogeys, Paul recovered strongly with birdies on holes #3, #4, #7 and #9 to turn in on 34. He traded a bogey with a birdie at the last to overtake Amir, whose listless putting display failed to yield a birdie. Daeng turned up the pressure on the closing stretch but fell short of forcing a play-off.

“To be honest, I’m quite surprised to be standing here as the winner. It was game full of ups and downs and I am proud of the way I reined in my disappointments early on after the back-to-back bogeys. I didn’t give up and rolled in some great putts to keep myself in contention and just stayed focused on what I had to do.

“I could see that Amir was struggling but he was scrambling really hard while Daeng was beginning to find his putting touch on the back nine. I was able to play some good percentage golf on the homeward stretch to sneak over the line ahead of them,” said the in-form Paul, who finished tied second at the recent Singapore Amateur Open.

He shared that his efforts to simplify his swing and become less wayward off the tee was starting to bear fruits. “I have been working hard on my game over the last month with my coach (Chong Chee Ming) and I’m really pleased with my outcome, especially on my ball striking. I struggled to string a good run of results during my freshman year in the US and this win would go a long way towards rebuilding my confidence,” he noted, adding that he wanted to enjoy the rest of his vacation before flying back to Louisiana.  

Leading final results (Malaysian unless stated):
210 – Paul San 69-71-70
211 – Daeng Abdul Rahman Abd Aziz 70-73-68
212 – Amir Nazrin Jailani 68-69-75
214 – Gregory Foo (SIN) 74-72-68, Genki Okada (JPN) 75-69-70
217 – James Leow (SIN) 73-71-73
219 – Muhd Afif Mohd Razif 74-73-72, Abdul Hadi Uda Thith (SIN) 71-75-73
220 – Suzairi Iqmah Rahim 74-70-76
221 – Khavish Varman Varadan 75-72-74, Kevin Caesario Akbar (INA) 73-73-75, Sazanur Iman Salenin 73-72-76

218 – Nur Durriyah Damian 71-73-74
220 – Genevieve Ling I-Rynn 71-77-72
230 – Rivani Adelia Sihotang (INA) 77-74-79
231 – Ong Shi Qing 80-75-76
232 – Raeysha Surendran 75-77-80
233 – Kim Joo Yeon (KOR) 80-79-74
234 – Winnie Ng Yu Xuan 80-78-76, Nur Eliana Ariffin 76-81-77, Devaki Anatha Ganesh 78-76-80
237 – Hillferah Tan 77-84-76