Kinrara high for Fung

Nicholas Fung ©TCH
Nicholas Fung ©TCH

Puchong: Nicholas Fung pulled away in the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Order of Merit race after romping to an impressive 11-shot victory at the I&P Group Championship on Sunday.

The 23-year-old Sabahan underlined his status as the Malaysian number one by notching a course record nine-under 62 at Kinrara Golf Club, en-route to his second PGM Tout title of 2013.

Despite only leading by one from Arie Fauzi at the start of the round, Nicholas put on a flawless putting display, highlighted by a stretch of four consecutive birdies over the last five holes to claim the RM25,200 winner’s cheque and an additional RM5,000 bonus for setting the new mark at the public course owned by title sponsor I&P Group.

Rookie professional Arie made a fine start but faded on the back nine, closing with a round of one-over 72 to fall into a share of second alongside Khor Kheng Hwai (67) and Sukree Othman (66).

A further two strokes adrift on 278 was the trio of Shaaban Hussin (66), R. Nachimuthu (69) and Airil Rizman Zahari (71) while Iylia Jamil came in sole eighth with a three-under 68.

Nicholas was delighted with his flatstick on a day when it seems that no putt was too long or too hard – he even drained a long one from the fringe on 14th. “That was simply amazing, I would call it a magical round. I didn’t have an inkling that I was going to go on a blitz but I drained some huge putts for birdies early on and that really fired me up,” said Nicholas.

“My putting has been very inconsistent this season but this week, I really felt like I was in control. I told myself to be a little patient after two quiet rounds and I bounced back strongly today. It’s always nice to win but I’m really proud of this round,” he noted.

With only eight events to be played, Nicholas was far from convinced that he had the Merit title sealed for a second consecutive year, noting that it only takes one victory by his rivals to change the equation.

“It’s still going to take some work. I would definitely like to finish the year as the PGM number one but my target is to win one or two more co-sanctioned events with the Asian Development Tour (ADT) to bolster my status as the best ranked Malaysian on the Official World Golf Rankings before the cut-off date for the CIMB Classic,” shared Nicholas.

Leading final round scores
265 – Nicholas Fung 64-70-69-62
276 – Arie Fauzi 72-64-68-72, Khor Kheng Hwai 70-68-71-67, Sukree Othman 75-67-68-66
278 – Airil Rizman 69-70-68-71, Shaaban Hussin 72-70-70-66, R. Nachimuthu 66-72-71-69
279 – Iylia Jamil 72-71-68-68
280 – Kemarol Baharin 69-73-70-68, Rahizam Ramli 69-69-73-69