Drama in Darulaman as Amir, Kelly win

Raihan Talib|PGM Tour
Tan (left) and Amir Nazrin (right) flank PGM Tour chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid

Alor Setar [KEDAH]: A scoring fiasco plunged the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Darulaman Championship into chaos as Amir Nazrin Jailani clinched his professional breakthrough in contentious fashion on February 23.

Amir was declared the winner midway through the first playoff hole at Darulaman Golf & Country Club after his playing partner Wafiyuddin Abdul Manaf was retrospectively disqualified for submitting a wrong score in regulation play.

It is unknown why a playoff was called in the first place by tournament officials as a closing final round 73 would have handed Wafiyuddin the title by a single stroke on six-under.

But it was later discovered that he had returned a birdie instead of par on the 15th hole in his scorecard, leaving officials with no choice under the Rules of Golf but to disqualify the 27-year-old.

The victory was nonetheless bittersweet for Amir – who has endured his fair share of close shaves on tour since turning professional in 2017, including a runner-up finish at the season-opening event in Perlis.

“Nobody wants to win in these sorts of circumstances, but it’s been a long time coming for me. I’ve kept knocking on the door the last two years, and I’m grateful to get my first win as a professional finally,” said the Johorean, who totaled five-under 283 on the back of rounds of 70, 74, 67 and 72.

The trio of Airil Rizman Zahari, Wilson Choo, and Khor Kheng Hwai took a share of second on 284 while reigning Order of Merit champion Shahriffudin Ariffin was a shot back in joint fifth, alongside Kemarol Baharin.

Nicholas Fung, who had led the tournament from the start, struggled to an uncharacteristic 80 to finish three shots off the pace.

In the women’s division, Kelly Tan ended her Malaysian sojourn with her second consecutive title. The American-based starlet overcame a one-shot deficit going into the final round to emerge victorious by five strokes, thanks to a closing one-under 71.

Tan, who totaled two-under 286, noted that the back-to-back wins as given her optimism and faith as she starts her 2019 Symetra Tour campaign at the season-opening US$250,000 SKYiGOLF Championship on March 7.

“To head back to the States with these two wins in the bag is a real confidence-booster. All these little wins – no matter how small they are – keep you motivated, and I’m all pumped up going into the new Symetra Tour season,” said the 25-year-old.

283 – Amir Nazrin Jailani 70-74-67-72
284 – Airil Rizman Zahari 73-71-73-67, Wilson Choo 73-71-69-71, Khor Kheng Hwai 71-69-71-73
285 – Shahriffuddin Ariffin 69-73-71-72, Kemarol Baharin 73-69-69-74
286 – Daeng Abdul Rahman Abdul Aziz 70-76-69-71, Sukree Othman 70-70-74-72, Nicholas Fung 69-68-70-80
287 – Kenneth De Silva 74-74-71-69, Low Khai Jei 73-71-73-71, Fakhrul Akmal 74-72-70-72

286 – Kelly Tan 70-72-73-71
291 – Aretha Pan 71-72-71-77
292 – Dianne Luke 72-70-78-72
293 – Michelle Koh 73-75-72-73
295 – Ainil Johani Abu Bakar 73-72-75-75