Chia triumphs in Jawi

Danny Chia ©Arep Kulal|PGM
Danny Chia ©Arep Kulal|PGM

Jawi [PENANG]: Local stalwart Danny Chia took a big step towards locking down his CIMB Classic start after cruising to a six-shot victory at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Bukit Jawi Championship on Saturday.

The 42-year-old shot an impressive seven-under-par 65  to claim his eighth victory on the flourishing domestic circuit with a 21-under-par 267 total at the RM200,000 (approximately US$50,000) event, co-sanctioned with the Asian Development Tour (ADT).

Casey O’Toole of the United States replaced Hsieh Chi-hsien of Chinese Taipei as the new ADT Order of Merit leader after settling for his second runner-up finish this season following a 69 at the Bukit Jawi Golf Resort.

Sean Riordan of New Zealand matched the low round of 65 to finish third on 274 while Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat ended his campaign in fourth place after shooting a 71.

A dominant Chia eagled the sixth hole from the edge of the green to turn in 31. He picked up another eagle on the 10th and sealed a comfortable win with a birdie on 17th, which erased his only dropped shot of the day on 15th.

“It is a great feeling to win again. I kept it together because at the start of the week, I knew I needed to win to get some Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points to qualify for the CIMB Classic. I’m glad I achieved my goal,” said Chia, who further consolidates his lead on the PGM money list with his third win of the season.

The victory will be a huge confidence boost for the Malaysian who heads to the Asia-Pacific Open Diamond Cup next week to resume the second half of the Asian Tour season.

“I played so well on my first six holes. My approach shots landed close to the pin but I missed a couple of putts. Overall, it was a good day and I’m looking forward to my trip to Japan,” he added.

The highest-ranked Malaysian on the OWGR as of September 30 will receive an invitation to participate in the US$7 million CIMB Classic event.

Chia’s closest rival on the OWGR, Arie Irawan finished tied-20th in Penang and will participate in the Asian Development Tour’s Ballentine Taiwan Championship next week.

Leading final results (Par-72) >
Malaysian unless stated
267 – Danny Chia 67-66-69-65
273 – Casey O’Toole (USA) 68-67-69-69
274 – Sean Riordan (NZL) 68-71-70-65
277 – Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA) 67-70-69-71
278 – Jordan Sherratt (AUS) 67-70-72-69, Josh Salah (USA) 68-70-70-70
279 – Kemarol Baharin 71-68-71-69
280 – Nitithorn Thippong (THA) 68-69-73-70, Masaru Takahashi (JPN) 69-73-68-70, Poom Saksansin (THA) 68-70-69-73
281 – Mitsuhiko Hashizume (JPN) 72-69-72-68, Rory Hie (INA) 69-72-70-71