Rawang [SELANGOR]: Yong Fatt Hoe overcame a hesistant final round start to secure his amateur breakthrough at the Kuala Lumpur Amateur Open on Thursday.
The 17-year-old bespectacled teenager underlined his status as one of Malaysia’s rising amateur prospects, carding a closing 73 to defeat national players Mohd Afif Muhd Fathi and Chan Tuck Soon by a single stroke.
Yong, who trailed overnight leader Chan by four strokes, dropped further behind after a bogey-strewn opening nine of 40 at Templer Park Country Club.
But the reigning Ali Kadir Memorial Trophy champion on the MYFutures Junior Tour
proved that he is fast maturing with an inspired homeward stretch on one of his favourite hunting grounds, where he had previously won the KOH&I Tournament of Champions in 2016.
Yong drained three birdies inside five holes before pulling off a clutch par save on the last to seal victory as his rivals fell short.
A double bogey on the 17th proved Chan’s undoing as the Kita Juara trainee settled for second on 78 alongside Afif, who returned with a level-par 72.
Yong was delighted to finally cut his teeth on the amateur ranks, just weeks after securing his fifth MYFutures Junior Tour victory at the season-opening Danau Junior Championship presented by KRUKM.
“One of my goals for the year was to break into the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) and to achieve it so early in year is something I’m really proud of,” said Yong, who totalled four-over 220.
“I didn’t have the best of starts today, dropping three shots in first two holes but I told myself that it wasn’t over until the last putt dropped. And true to that, I had to convert a nerve-wrecking par save at the end to win this tournament, which made it all the more satisfying.
“I was struggling with my driver on the first nine but fortunately, I was able to tweak my set-up at the turn and I was hitting much better after that. I think that was crucial because it left me with better scoring chances,” he noted.
In the ladies’ division, Winnie Ng Yu Xuan clinched another morale-boosting victory as she defeated fellow national Geraldine Wong Xiao Xuan by five strokes.
Fresh from securing her place in the national team to the 39th Asia-Pacific Amateur Ladies Golf Team Championship for the Queen Sirikit Cup (QSC) last month, the 16-year-old fired her second 68 of the week to coast to an impressive wire-to-wire victory on six-under 210 overall.
“I’m ecstatic to be honest. It’s been a positive start to year being part of the winning South East Asian team at the Pradera Ladies Challenge in the Philippines, securing my place in QSC team and now, winning my first individual title of the year. My confidence level is very high at the moment and I think my scores reflect that,” said Ng.
“It was a tough contest because Geraldine was at the top of her game today. I think the contest was closer than the final result showed but I’m happy with the way I pulled away with a strong finish,” shared the Kuala Lumpur teenager, who is victorious for the first time on the MGA circuit since winning the 2015 Selangor Amateur Open.
Leading final results (Par-72)
220 – Yong Fatt Hoe 72-75-73
221 – Mohd Afif Muhd Fathi 76-73-72, Chan Tuck Soon 73-70-78
222 – Hui Yong Sherng 74-77-71, Tiago Lobo (BRA) 76-75-71
223 – Low Wee Jin (SIN) 76-74-73
225 – Chan Kai Zhane 79-73-73, Zia Izzuddeen Abdul Rashid 78-71-76, Sheikh Abdul Razak Rawof 74-70-81
226 – Mohd Firdaus Sabri 78-76-72
210 – Winnie Ng Yu Xuan 68-74-68
215 – Geraldine Wong Xiao Xuan 75-70-70
216 – Norezrina Alisa Che Omar 74-72-70
218 – Bernice Olivarez-Ilas (PHI) 72-76-70
223 – Liyana Durisic 74-77-72, Nur Syazani Amalia Mohd Shahzan 77-72-75
224 – Qistina Balqis Azhar 77-72-75, Junie Khaw Wen Jun 72-76-76
225 – Warda Amira Rawof 76-77-72
226 – Mikhaela Fortuna (PHI) 80-73-73