Shah Alam [SELANGOR]: Josh Salah of the United States parred the third extra hole to emerge victorious over Bangladesh’s Shakhawat Shohel at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Northport Championship on Saturday.
Salah and Shakhawat were tied on 13-under-par 275 at the end of regulation play at the RM225,000 (approximately US$58,000) event, hosted by Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.
The 27-year-old Salah, who carded a bogey-free six-under-par 66, had a great chance to win at the first play-off hole, but his ball narrowly lipped out. He also missed another opportunity from six feet at the second extra hole.
The play-off was moved from the 18th hole to the 17th hole and that was where Salah managed to edge ahead of Shakhawat. The Bangladeshi drove it into the right hazard and was not able to get up-and-down, while Salah parred the hole for his second win on the Asian Development Tour (ADT).
Starting the day three shots behind the leader, Salah closed the deficit with birdies on holes one, three and five. Crucial par saves on the ninth and the 18th allowed him to force his way into the play-off.
“At the ninth, I drove my tee shot into the trees. After punching it out, I had about 80 yards left but I hit a huge wedge shot and putted in for par. The 18th was also crucial. I rolled it in for par from around nine feet to keep it at 13-under-par. Otherwise, I would have missed out on the play-off,” added Salah, who will also receive six Official World Golf Ranking points.
He added: “I was planning to play in the Royal Cup Monday Qualifier but I just didn’t feel right about it. I know Glenmarie very well and I liked my chances here. Now that I’ve won, I’ll be aiming for one of the seven Asian Tour cards on offer for the 2019 season. I’m ready for the next step.”
LEADING FINAL RESULTS (Par-72)
275 – Josh Salah (USA) 70-69-70-66
275 – Shakhawat Sohel (BAN) 71-68-67-69
277 – KEMAROL BAHARIN 69-73-69-66
278 – Varanyu Rattanaphiboonku (THA) 69-70-71-68, ERVIN CHANG (A) 75-66-67-70 279 – Koh Dengshan (SGP) 71-68-74-66, Choo Tze Huang (SGP) 71-71-68-69, Chanat Sakulpolphaisan (THA) 71-66-71-71
280 – NACHHIMUTHU RAMASAMY 72-70-67-71 281 – Panuwat Muenlek (THA) 69-71-73-68, Janne Kaske (FIN) 68-72-71-70, Mathiam Keyser (RSA) 69-68-74-70, Tawit Polthai (THA) 68-71-71-71, Scott Barr (AUS) 72-71-65-73
Kemarol Baharin emerged as the top local finisher, signing for a flawless 66 to grab lone third place, ahead of young amateur Ervin Chang, who finised an impressive tied-fourth alongside Varnayu Rattanaphiboonku (68) of Thailand.
“I’ve had an exception round today. My short game was on point and this is the first time I did not three-putt in the entire round. Overall, I’m very happy with my performance. Last week, I won a tournament on the local circuit and that has probably helped set me up for this week,” said Kemarol.
Chang went on a run of five birdies through 10 holes to move into the lead but three dropped shots on the way back saw the Liberty University sophomore finish with a 70 to settle for 10-under-par.
The domestic ladies championship saw Aretha Pan Herng secure her second consecutive win of the season with an even-par aggregate.
A closing one-under 71 handed the Sabahan lass a one-stroke victory over third round leader Michelle Koh, who stumbled with a closing 73.
Dianne Luke (69) of Sarawak secured her first podium finish on the PGM Tour, coming in third on four-over.
LEADING FINAL RESULTS (Par-72)
288 – Aretha Pan Herng 75-70-72-71
289 – Michelle Koh 73-71-72-73
292 – Dianne Luke 77-73-73-69
294 – Ainil Johani Abu Bakar 76-71-77-72
298 – Genevieve Ling 72-77-75-74, Nur Durriyah Damian 79-69-75-75
306 – Noraishah Alisa Che Omar (A) 76-76-78-76