First blow to Danny in Kinrara

Danny Chia ©The ClubHouse
Danny Chia ©The ClubHouse

Puchong: Danny Chia clinched his third Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) title in style, overcoming a four-shot deficit to triumph by two strokes at the PGM I&P Kinrara Classic on Sunday.

Danny, who turned the big 4-0 last November, traded seven birdies and two bogeys for a closing five-under 66 at Kinrara Golf Club as he took full advantage of S. Sivachandhran’s unfortunate double bogey on the 10th to clinch his first victory on the burgeoning  domestic tour since June 2011 when he won the PGM Clearwater Classic.

The Asian Tour regular totalled 11-under 273 over four rounds to pick up a cheque of RM25,200 in the RM150,000 season-opener. Airil Rizman Zahari was three strokes back in sole third after  posting a flawless two-under 69 ahead of defending champion Sukree Othman (69). A battling final round one-under 70 saw Shaaban Hussin settle for fifth on five-under 280.

Despite a poor start with a bogey on second, Danny came back strongly with two strong birdies stretches, especially when he buried three of his five finishing holes.

“I think I surprised a lot of people and even myself by coming back strongly today after my bogey-ridden finish yesterday. I didn’t miss that much greens this week but I was a bit undecided on the pace. After I bogeyed the second, I realised that the patches were not slowing down the ball – it was the opposite actually and I began to judge my putts much better,” said Danny, who was winless on tour last season.

“The only way I could have outplayed Siva was to drain more putts than him as he can really get going on these greens. In the end, he  proved a little unlucky on the tenth when he lost his ball but that’s golf,” he added on his three-stroke swing after the turn.

Danny also won the opening leg in 2010/2011 season and he hopes that today’s win will sets him up nicely for 2013. “Before I came here, I had the same thought about repeating my success at Impian two years back. It’s good to be back in the winners’ circle again, even if I’m far from comfortable with the new swing regiment that I have been implementing for the last five months. I’ve learn during that period that I don’t have to swing it really good to play well as it is more important to be mentally positive.”

S. Sivachandhran was left wondering what could have been as a run of nine straight pars ended with unlikely two-shot drop when he lost his ball after his approach veered left into the rough.

“I am very disappointed with that incident because I was nursing my lead through the turn but it proved to be a miserable turn of luck on my part. I gave myself chances on the back nine all the way till the end but could only muster a single birdie on the 15th.”

The Tour now heads to Kelab Rahman Putra Malaysia for the Asian Development Tour (ADT) co-sanctioned CCM KRPM Masters from January 31 to February 3.

Leading final round scores
273 – Danny Chia 72-63-72-66
275 – S. Sivachandhran 67-66-70-72
278 – Airil Rizman Zahari 71-717-67-69
279 – Sukree Othman 72-67-71-69
280 – Shaaban Hussin 69-71-70-70
281 – R. Nachimuthu 71-73-69-68
282 – Shaifubari Muda 71-74-69-68, Akhmal Tarmizee Nazari 73-71-68-70, Haziq Hamizan 70-70-69-73
284 – Nicholas Fung 71-67-75-71, Khor Kheng Hwai 69-73-69-73, Jeremiah Kim 71-67-71-75