Nicholas jumpstarts season with strong showing

Mike Casper|The ClubHouse
Nicholas Fung takes in the adulation after a good show at the Maybank Championship

SUBANG: A leaderboard finish it was not but Nicholas Fung was all smiles after carving out a personal best at the US$3 million Maybank Championship on Sunday.

The one-time Asian Tour winner signed off with a two-under 70 for an eight-under-par overall at Saujana Golf & Country Club.

Fung put together a solid tee-to-green performance to secure joint 15th placing with four others – his best finish in a European Tour co-sanctioned event.

“Very happy with this week, especially this being my best finish in a major tournament on home soil. It was not easy to deal with the pressure, especially with my family, friends, and sponsors all coming out to support me but it kept my rhythm and momentum going,” said the Sabahan, who carded rounds of 68, 73, 69 and 70.

“The key this week was not getting yourself into trouble. I kept the ball in the fairways and greens and of course, drained a lot of putts. My putter was on song this week, and it has boosted my confidence,” he added.

A share of US$40,560 from the prize purse saw Fung make a giant leap on the Habitat of Humanity standings, moving from 34th to 8th on the moneylist.

“With my [tournament winner] exemption coming to an end this year, I needed to jumpstart my season, and this performance gives me a boost on the Order of Merit. It also gives me the option of trying and playing some events on the Japan Challenge Tour.”

A change to Callaway in 2019 is also yielding dividends with better distance off the tees and a sharper short game.

“I’m playing with a bag of new equipment this year [Callaway], and I’ve been working hard with tour representative Adam [Bible] to get the perfect configuration for my game. It’s all starting to click in place, and I’m looking forward to making inroads this year,” shared Fung.

A frustrating week for Gavin Kyle Green ©Mike Casper|The ClubHouse

It proved a frustrating campaign for Maybank ambassador Gavin Kyle Green, who cut a forlorn figure after settling for tied-30th on five-under.

Having narrowly made the cut, the Malaysian number one tried valiantly to make up ground but was blighted by a cold putter as he returned with rounds of 69 and 70 on the weekend.

“Very frustrated with how I finished – the two bogeys [at the end of the final round] were pretty disappointing. Overall, a very average week but counting on the positives that I finished inside the top-30 despite just surviving the cut,” said Green.

“Striking the ball incredibly well but my putting is pretty bad right now. I’m not holing enough putts, and that’s something that I need to work improve on.

“Nonetheless, really happy with the support shown by the great local galleries that braved the heat wave this week, so cheers to that and I hope to come back stronger next year,” he added.