Nachimuthu ends season on a high

Nachimuthu Ramasamy ©Arep Kulal|PGM

KUALA LUMPUR: Nachimuthu Ramasamy survived a tense play-off against Lam Yu Shuen to win the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Maybank Players’ Championship on Saturday.

The seasoned 44-year-old picked up his third Tour championship in five seasons after Lam, who was in the hunt for his maiden Tour title, three-putted the third extra hole at the East Course of Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.

Leading by two strokes going into the final round, Nachimuthu conceded a sloppy bogey on the closing hole of regulation play to finish deadlocked on seven-under 277 with Lam, who had signed for a sterling four-under 67.

Khor Kheng Hwai (70) and Gavin Green (71) were two shots behind in joint third on 297 in the RM275,000 season-ending event.

It was a topsy-turvy day for Nachimuthu, who despite his ups-and-downs was delighted with his ninth Tour title on the flourishing domestic circuit.

He had one other win this year – when he overcame Shaaban Hussin to win the Kelantan Championship – also in a three-hole play-off.

“I’ve had to really work hard for my wins this year. I felt I should have won last week at the Darulaman Championship but like so many other occasions this season, I’ve just fell short of the winning target.

“The Tour Championship has always been a lucky tournament for me, so I’m really pleased with my effort,” said Nachimuthu, who took home his share of RM47,150 and more importantly, secured his place in February’s Maybank Championship Malaysia.

The Tour veteran was two-over for the first nine but fought back with a three-birdie-run from the 12th and another at the 17th hole. However, bogeys at the 16th and 18th holes left the door open for Lam.

“It was a long, tough day. Nothing went my way over the first nine and I dropped to five-under. But I came back strongly with the three straight birdies. Unfortunately, my ball took a drink on the 16th and just went I felt I had done enough with another gain on 17th, I messed it up on the final hole,” he added.

“I was pretty confident that I was going to bury my birdie putt on the first play-off hole but somehow it just lipped out of the cup. I knew I had to be patient and just stay aggressive and give myself a better chance than my opponent,” said Nachimuthu.

Leading final results (Par-71):
277 – Nachimuthu Ramasamy 73-67-66-71, Lam Yu Shuen 70-71-69-67
Nachimuthu wins a bogey on the third play-off hole
279 – Khor Kheng Hwai 69-66-74-70, Gavin Kyle Green 73-70-65-71
281 – Mohd Azman Basharudin 71-67-71-72
282 – Sukree Othman 72-69-72-69, Ben Leong 71-69-69-73
283 – Lim Eng Seng 70-69-70-74
284 – Abel Tam 70-68-71-75
285 – Kemarol Baharin 68-70-75-72 ‪