Ervin equals best Malaysian finish at AAC

Ervin Chang in action during final round

SINGAPORE: A chance meeting with Tom Watson sparked a final day comeback for Ervin Chang as he equalled the best-ever finish by a Malaysian at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.

Chang met the eight-time Major champion ahead of the championship’s gala dinner yesterday and their brief conversation inspired him to a sensational six-under 64 – the lowest  final round recorded during the tenth anniversary edition of the championship.

The 19-year-old Liberty University junior totalled seven-under overall to finish alone in seventh placing, just six strokes back from champion Takumi Kanaya at the New Tanjong layout of the Sentosa Golf Club.

Kanaya became only the second Japanese to clinch the championship after two-time winner Hideki Matsuyama, notching seven birdies in a closing 65 to seal a richly-deserved two-shot victory over India’s Rayhan Thomas and compatriot Keita Nakajima – the 2018 Asian Games gold medallist.

The 20-year-old Kanaya earns an invitation to next year’s Masters Tournament at Augusta National and a spot at The 148th Open at Royal Portrush, provided he retains his amateur status. The runners-up will gain a spot in The Open Qualifying Series.

Chang was delighted to equal the record held by Mohd Iszaimi Ismail, who finished for a tie of seventh in the maiden edition in Mission Hills China in 2009.

An even-par closing effort saw young Bryan Teoh Wiyang capping off a decent debut performance, finishing in T42 on five-over. Muhd Afif Mohd Razif withdrew after nine holes of the final round due to ill health.