Takahashi savours KLGCC victory

Masaru Takashi acknowledges the gallery after holing out the tournament © Arep Kulal/PGM Tour
Masaru Takahashi acknowledges the gallery after holing out the tournament © Arep Kulal/PGM Tour

Kuala Lumpur: Masaru Takahashi cruised to his first victory on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) when he closed with a two-under-par 69 at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) MIDF KLGCC Masters on Sunday. 

Takahashi, who is the second Japanese to triumph on the ADT after Mitsuhiko Hashizume won at Langkawi in May, defeated national top-ranked professional Nicholas Fung, who shot a 69, by three shots with an 11-under-par 273 total at the RM200,000 (approximately US$65,000) event.

Singapore’s Koh Deng Shan, Ireland’s Niall Turner and local hope Shaaban Hussin shared third on 279 after signing for rounds of 69, 72 and 74 respectively at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club’s East Course.

Chinese Taipei’s Lee Cho-chuan returned with the day’s lowest round of 66 to finish sixth while another four players, including first round co-leader Iylia Jamil of Malaysia, were tied at seventh at the penultimate tournament of the 2013 ADT season.

Takahashi, who traded five birdies and three bogey, was delighted to cap a magical week in Malaysia with his first career title since turning professional in 2008.

“I’m really very happy with my first ever professional win today. I’ve waited so long for it. My putting was great today and I’ve played very consistently the whole week. The week has been awesome. I hope to claim more wins in future!” said the 27-year-old, who took home the winner’s prize purse of US$10,812 and six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points.

Despite missing out on a second ADT win of the season, Fung was contented with his runner-up finish, propelling him to the top of the ADT Order of Merit where he leads with a season’s haul of US$43,998.

“This is already my third runner-up finish this season but I’m happy with my performance so far. I’m glad to be on top of the merit list now. Hopefully I can maintain my good form till the end of the season. Takahashi is a good player. He started a bit nervous but he became calmer towards the end,” said the 23-year-old Sabahan.

Koh received a great confidence boost as he claimed his best finish on the ADT this season. “I didn’t start well today but I told myself to keep calm. The weather was good today despite the slight drizzle in the morning. Overall, I played well this week and I’m happy with my performance,” said the Singaporean.

Leading final round scores:
273 – Masaru Takahashi (JPN) 66-70-68-69
276 – Nicholas Fung 69-71-67-69
279 – Koh Deng Shan (SIN) 71-66-73-69, Niall Turner (IRE) 68-67-72-72, Shaaban Hussin 69-69-67-74
282 – Lee Cho-chuan (TPE) 68-73-75-66
284 – Malcolm Kokocinski (SWE) 75-72-69-68, Wittawat Sae-Ung (THA) 73-70-73-68, Mohd Iylia Jamil 66-74-74-70, Somsak Kaopratum (THA) 70-74-69-71
285 – James Byrne (SCO) 74-74-68-69, Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA) 68-73-72-72, Airil Rizman Zahari 73-70-70-72