KUALA LUMPUR: From perennial runner-up to two wins in as many seasons – Sasidaran Muthiah has surely turned the corner.
The 41-year-old carded a flawless three-under 69 to seal a comprehensive seven-shot victory at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Perlis Championship on May 24.
Sasidaran, who held at least a share of the lead from the opening round, totaled nine-under 279 total to claim another win since triumphing in the Port Dickson Championship last July.
Sukree Othman – twice a winner at the treacherous Putra Golf Club – could only manage a closing 74 to finish sole second.
Airil Rizman Zahari, another two-time champion, finished with a 72 to share third place with Mohd Nazri Zain (70) and Kenneth Tobuse (71) on even-par 288.
Holding a two-shot cushion coming into the final round, Sasidaran recorded birdies on the hole 2, 15 and 18 to secure his win in the RM200,000 tournament.
“I knew there was more to come after winning my first title in Port Dickson last year and I’m really delighted to win again.
“This win definitely turns my season around because I have been struggling since the start of the year. I put a new set of irons into play this week and it worked wonders for my game,” said the Tasik Puteri resident professional, who hopes to finish the year inside the top-10 of the Order of Merit.
Meanwhile, Michelle Koh emerged victorious in the inaugural women’s competition staged concurrently with the men’s contest.
Rounds of 78, 73, 72 and 71 saw the Rio Olympian total six-over 294 to finish seven strokes ahead of Ainil Johani Bakar.
“My performance was a little rusty but nonetheless, I’m happy to have won here – it’s real confidence-booster, if nothing else,” said Koh.
“I really have to thank [PGM Tour chairman] Tun Ahmad Sarji [Abdul Hamid] for the opportunity afforded to the lady professionals to compete on the PGM Tour. I personally feel that these competitive rounds on home soil will definitely translate to better performances on the regional circuits,” she added.
Koh took home RM7, 000 while Ainil received RM5, 000. The third lady golfer in the field – Michele Low – missed the halfway cut.
Leading final results (Par-72)
279 – Sasidaran Muthiah 70-69-71-69
286 – Sukree Othman 71-68-73-74
288 – Mohd Nazri Mohd Zain 72-74-72-70, Kenneth Tobuse 73-73-71-71, Airil Rizman Zahari 74-71-71-72
289 – Kemarol Baharin 72-74-72-71, Tan Chien Hau 74-73-71-71, Mohd Azman Basharudin 74-70-73-72
290 – Wafiyuddin Abd Manaf 72-73-74-71, Akhmal Tarmizee Nazari 74-70-73-73
291 – Zu’rie Harun 72-74-73-72, Khor Kheng Hwai 72-71-75-73
294 – Michelle Koh 78-73-72-71
301 – Ainil Johani Abu Bakar 74-77-76-74