Sukree triumphant in Rahman Putra

Sukree Othman © Mike Casper|TCH
Sukree Othman © Mike Casper|TCH

Sungai Buloh [SELANGOR]: Sukree Othman snatched a winning birdie at the last to wrap up a wire-to-wire victory at the prestigious PGA Championship of Malaysia on Sunday.

The 39-year-old traded four birdies against two bogeys, including one on the penultimate hole when his approach shot found the water hazard, to close with a solid two-under 70 at Kelab Rahman Putra Malaysia.

Sukree totalled 13-under 275 to finish one clear of Airil Rizman Zahari, who battled valiantly in defeat with his fourth consecutive 69 of the week.

Nachimuthu Ramasamy, who shot a tournament best of eight-under 64 on Friday, carded a six-under 66 to finish third on 277 in the RM200,000 tournament, organised by the Professional Golf Association of Malaysia.

Shaaban Hussin (71) was a further shot back in 278 while Kemarol Baharin (70) settled for sole fifth on 279.

Sukree, who led from the opening round, set-up his first win in over 28 months with a brilliant chip from 45 yards on the closing hole for a tap-in birdie.

“I’m a relieved man! After two years of grinding hard and coming close on so many occasions, to finally win again feels really sweet. It is a real honour to add my name to a list of greats that have won this storied championship,” said Sukree.

The overnight leader was placed under immense pressure by Airil, who snatched two birdies in a flawless front nine 34 to move into a share of the lead.

But Sukree birdied the 10th and 13th to regain his advantage as 2003 champion Airil dropped three bogeys on a trot from the 13th.

“Leading from day one gave me the momentum I needed and even though, Airil pulled level with me at the halfway turn, I stuck to my game plan and made two crucial birdies to give myself some breathing space,” he added.

In what proved to be the turning point of the contest, Sukree salvaged an unlikely bogey on the 17th, draining a 30-foot downhill putt to stay alongside Airil, who had charged back with two straight birdies.

“I thought I had messed it up with my second shot on the 17th. My ball was in a bad lie in the rough and I didn’t get a clean contact. Next thing I know, I was taking relief and pitched it to about 30 feet from the pin.

“My heart was racing as I was staring at a dramatic two-shot swing in Airil’s favour with only one hole to play but I stayed calm, hit my putt firmly and the rest is just history,” added Sukree, who walked home with RM28,000 and a return ticket to Langkawi courtesy of Malindo Air for his effort.

Meanwhile, P. Gunasagaran won the two-day Senior PGA Championship of Malaysia by three strokes over Rusli Johari, returning with matching 72s to total even-par 144. He received RM4,500 for his victory.

Leading final results (Par-72):
275 – Sukree Othman 67-68-70-70
276 – Airil Rizman Zahari 69-69-69-69
277 – Nachimuthu Ramasamy 77-64-70-66
278 – Shaaban Hussin 69-69-69-71
279 – Kemarol Baharin 68-71-70-70
280 – Iylia Jamil 69-72-69-70
281 – Kenneth Tobuse 70-69-73-69, Akhmal Tarmizee Nazari 67-70-70-74
283 – Sivachandhran Supramaniam 74-70-70-69
284 – Mohd Rizal Amin 70-71-74-69, Jeremiah Kim Leun Kwang 72-71-71-70, Hans Jamil 73-69-70-72