Gavin eyes US Amateur qualification

Gavin Kyle Green and younger brother Galven Kendall during the practice round today ©Khalid Redza/Asian Tour
Gavin Kyle Green and younger brother Galven Kendall during the practice round today ©Khalid Redza/Asian Tour

Petaling Jaya (ASIAN TOUR): Malaysian amateur sensation Gavin Green is pushing for a good performance at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters to boost his hopes of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur Championship. 

The 19-year-old will take on the Asian Tour’s top players at Seri Selangor Golf Club starting tomorrow armed with the confidence of holding his own against the likes of title holder Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, India’s Anirban Lahiri, Scott Hend of Australia, Thailand’s Arnond Vongvanij and Baek Seuk-hyun of Korea.

Green’s younger brother Galven will also be in the field after winning the under-15 category of the Etiqa Selangor International Junior Masters to qualify for the tournament.

In his last two appearance on the region’s premier Tour, which is celebrating its milestone 10th season in 2013, Green finished tied 18th and equal 22nd at the Iskandar Johor Open and Maybank Malaysian Open respectively.

“I know I can compete with the professionals. I still have a lot of things for me to learn and I’ll still hang on to my amateur status. I’m not there yet (professional level) but I’m getting there. I still have a lot of work and learning to do – mental wise. I’m getting close,” said Green today.

The University of New Mexico undergraduate is back in Malaysia for the summer holidays and wants to sew up his spot in the prestigious U.S. Amateur Championship in August with a strong showing at Seri Selangor.

“The cut-off date for the U.S. Amateur is at the end of this week so I need to do well here. I’m only two spots away,” said Green, who is ranked 52nd in the amateur world rankings.

With the Seri Selangor course running hard and fast due to the dry conditions, big-hitting Green knows that he must stay patient to score well.

“The course is hard and you have to be really patient. It will be a lot easier if you keep it in play. I would have some advantage with my distance in some holes but not all. There’s a lot of thinking to do this week,” said Green, who will be paired alongside the Asian Tour’s two biggest hitters, Scott Hend and Anton Haig in the opening two rounds.

In-form Shaaban Hussin, who won a tournament on the domestic Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) circuit last week, reckons the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters will offer him the best chance to win a maiden title on the Asian Tour.

Shaaban, who is amongst a strong 40-man Malaysian contingent, has come close on a handful of occasions but with the event returning to his home course, the 33-year-old hopes to capitalise on his local knowledge.

“My driving and putting have been good so hopefully I can continue with this form and become the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters champion,” he said.

“Last week I won in Penang. That course was short and my driving and putting were good. Hopefully I can bring that feeling to this week.

“It is going to be very challenging this year. The course is not easy. I have an advantage playing here because I always spend my time here and practise my short game here. I know how to play all the holes here.

“I’m looking forward to win my first Asian Tour title, that’s my target. I think this week will be the closest and my best chance to win if I can play good.”