Gavin secures Nedbank Challenge start

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Gavin Green of Malaysia

By Joy Chakravarty at the Turkish Airlines Open

Belek [TURKEY]: Gavin Green ended a frustrating week at the $7 million Turkish Airlines Open with a three-over par 75 round, but will have yet another attempt in trying to achieve his cherished goal for the season – a place at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship – after qualifying for the Nedbank Challenge in Sun City.

After hitting 44 out of 54 greens in regulation the first three days, Green did not have the best ball-striking day at the Montgomerie Maxx Royale on Sunday.

He found just seven of the 13 fairways and 10 GIRs. And with 29 putts to complete the round, it was an all-round off day for the Malaysian star.

The 25-year-old finished on four-under-par 284 to be tied 50th. That saw him slip two places in the Race to Dubai to 70th.

But with the 76th ranked player getting into the 60-man field at Nedbank Challenge, Green will head to the Gary Player Country Club and hope to get a high finish to book his spot in the DP World Tour Championship.

The only bright spot in Green’s day was a birdie on the 18th hole, his ninth of the day after starting from the 10th tee and making back-to-back bogeys on the 12th and 13th holes, but the black clouds were back soon when he made a double bogey on the par-5 first hole.

Green hit a terrible tee shot on the first, then had to hit his second shot left-handed to try and come out of the trouble. But the ball ricocheted off a tree and went inside a bush, from where he had to take an unplayable.

“It was a rough day for me today. I struggled off the tee and did not give myself too many chances. And when I did have some birdie opportunities, I could not convert them,” said the world number 242.

“You have days like this in golf and you have to deal with it.”

Green was hopeful of turning it around in South Africa this week.

“I am really looking forward to playing the Nedbank Challenge. The good thing is that I have played the golf course before. I know it and I like it. It’s at an altitude and almost similar what I played during my college days in New Mexico,” said the Asian Tour number one in 2017.

“It’s a tough course and I like playing on such challenging lay-outs. I am hoping to have a good week there and still make it to the DP World Tour Championship.”

There was a six-way play-off to decide the champion after Kurt Kitayama (64), Erik van Rooyen (65), Victor Perez (65), Benjamin Hebert (67), Tyrrell Hatton (67) and overnight leader Matthias Schwab (70) tied at 20-under par.

Kitayama, Hatton and Schwab made birdies on the first extra hole to prolong the search for a champion. It was finally decided on the fourth hole with sunlight giving way to artificial sunlights, when Schwab made a bogey to Hatton’s par.

The Englishman was three shots off the lead at the start of the day wile a birdie on the 72nd hole handed him a closing 67 and a place in the record equalling play-off. He then had to chip-in to keep his hopes alive on the first trip back up the last.