Dejected local duo finish strongly

Danny Chia ©The ClubHouse

Kuala Lumpur: The domestic challenge never got off the ground this week at the CIMB Classic but while disappointed with their respective campaigns, Danny Chia and Shaaban Hussin preferred to ponder on the positives.

Chia finished as the top placed Malaysian for the second year running at The MINES Resort & Golf Club, closing with a round of four-under 67 for a three-under 281 to take sole possession of 43rd. His compatriot Shaaban broke par for the first time all week with a round of 68 to settle for 47th on one-over 285, two shots clear of last placed Scott Hend of Australia.

The national number one was hoping for a repeat of his dazzling performance last year when he finished tied 13th but poor rounds of 75 and 73 midway through the US$6.1 million PGA and Asian Tours co-sanctioned meant that a solid display on Sunday was nothing more than a consolation.

“What is done is done. At least I held my head up. I can see some light! It was a different day and feel. I told myself to take whatever came my way and I played good. It was more about pride today. Worst come to worst, I wanted to finish under-par to prove that I’m worthy of playing this week,” said the 40-year-old, who mixed five birdies with a sole blemish on the eighth.

While dejected with the overall result, Chia was pleased with the way his swing changes are slowly paying off. “I can let it bother me for the rest of my career but I choose to forget about it and start all over again. I’m still hitting the ball good. That’s a positive,” he added.

He will now turn his attention to securing playing rights on the Asian Tour for 2013, beginning at the Barclays Singapore Open in a fortnight. “I’m quite pleased with the remaining events on the Asian Tour. I like the courses, so it is a plus side. I’m happy with changes to my game and everything is looking quite good at the moment. It is only me stopping myself from playing well,” shared Chia, who currently lies 60th in the Order of Merit.

Only the top 65 players after the season-ending Iskandar Johor Open will earn their cards for next year.

Shaaban Hussin ©The ClubHouse

Shaaban on the other hand was pleased to finally give his sore shoulders some rest after four days of playing through the pain barrier.

I’m very happy. It worked out exactly how I wanted it to be. My short game and putting were very superb. There were many holes where I couldn’t hit it on the green. I just made up-and-down. There were holes where I hit the green in regulation and had a birdie. It felt easy,” said Shaaban, who gave back a bogey on the last in a round of three birdies.

The slender-built Kedahan was however, more than disaapointed that he was not able to make the most out of his third start in limited field exhibition. “Yes of course I am disappointed. This is a big event and it is easy to earn some big cash if you play well. In three years, I have yet to make over US$100,000. There’s still next year and I hope to qualify on merit,” he added.

He admitted that the course would have been for the taking had he been a 100% fit. “I learned this week that even if I don’t hit it long, I can still score! I never thought of playing good because of my shoulder but I still managed to finish with an under-par round.”