Chang surprises regulars at Amateur Closed

Michelle Koh and Ervin Chang with their MAC trophies respectively
Michelle Koh and Ervin Chang with their MAC trophies respectively

Rawang: National back-up player Ervin Chang secured the biggest win of his young career on Tuesday at the Malaysian Amateur Closed in Perangsang Templer Golf Club.

The 16-year-old saw off challenges from seasoned campaigner Chan Tuck Soon (70) and up-and-coming Johorean Alvin Hiew (71) by two strokes with a three-day total of three-under 213 – earning a  surprise start at the Maybank Malaysian Open in April.

Chang, who started the final round with a three-shot cushion, matched two birdies with two bogeys to come home with a closing 72 but admitted to feeling the pressure as his playing mate Chan got on a birdie roll on the back nine.

“This is my first senior amateur title and I’m very delighted with the way I played this week and held my own out there. It was great fun playing with Tuck Soon and Wafiyuddin in the final flight as they pushed me all the way to the end,” said Chang.

“I started off just playing solid golf and making pars to preserve my lead but I was a bit nervous after Tuck Soon made three straight birdies from the 12th to trim my advantage to one. I knew that I needed to finish strongly and birdied the last to cement the win,” he added, noting that he was excited at the opportunity to tee-off at the national Open for the first time.

In the ladies division, leading amateur Michelle Koh defeated national stablemate and defending champion Nur Durriyah Damian by four strokes despite a disappointing final round of three-over 75.

With a seven-shot overnight advantage, Koh came out top with a two-over 218 overall, despite a disappointing three-over 75 final round. “It was not smooth sailing at all and I was lucky that the others did not manage to catch up,” explained the 23-year-old, who rued a triple bogey on the seventh.

“Nonetheless, it’s a great start to the year and I hope to built on this performance after the disappointment at the SEA Games in Myanmar. I hope to play a few more events before taking the plunge by participating in the International Qualifying School on the China LPGA in March,” noted Koh.

The Campbell University graduate has now completed a rare collection of all four major ladies amateur titles in the country, namely the Malaysian Ladies Amateur Open (2009), the MAZDA-KGNS Ladies Amateur Open (2010) and the Malaysian Ladies Amateur Closed last year.

Leading final round scores
213 – Ervin Chang 71-70-72
215 – Chan Tuck Soon 68-77-70, Alvin Hiew 72-72-71
216 – Muhd Wafiyuddin Abdul Manas 75-69-72
217 – Bryan Teoh Wiyang 73-75-69
218 – Muhd Naqiuddin Mohd Fuad 74-73-71
219 – Muhd Afif Mohd Razif 78-73-68
220 – Nasaruddin Abd Basir 75-72-73
222 – Mohd Zamree Abidin 73-76-73, Muhd Danial Faidz Jazmi 73-74-75

218 – Michelle Koh 72-71-75
222 – Nur Durriyah Damian 74-76-72
223 – Diane Luke 71-79-73
224 – Janice Ling Hui Shin 73-77-74
230 – Nurul Shahirah Nasir 79-73-78
232 – Natasha Andrea Oon 80-78-74, Kelie Kan Kah Yan 81-77-74
233 – Nur Musfirah Ilham Armalis 77-79-77
235 – Hilferah Tan 81-77-77, Ginnie Ho 78-78-79, Laura Lee 76-79-80