Record-breaking win for Gavin

Gavin Kyle Green ©Arep Kulal|PGM
Gavin Kyle Green ©Arep Kulal|PGM

Rawang: National sensation Gavin Kyle Green entered his name into the record books after becoming the first amateur to triumph on the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour with a stupendous victory at the Vascory Templer Park Championship on Saturday.

The big-hitting Green, who played on a sponsor’s invitation, closed with a flawless eight-under-par 64 for a sensational 11-stroke victory over countryman Airil Rizman at the RM250,000 Asian Development Tour co-sanctioned event.

The 20-year-old also set a new 72-hole scoring record on the flourishing domestic circuit with his commanding four-day total of 26-under-par 262 at the Templer Park Country Club.

Airil signed for his best round of 65 this week to take second place while Thailand’s Kwanchai Tannin finished three shots back in third on 276. China’s Ye Jian-feng, who returned with the day’s lowest score of 63, shared fourth place with local hope Khor Kheng Hwai to mark his best finish on the ADT.

Defending champion and reigning Order of Merit winner Nicholas Fung of Malaysia slipped to tied-15th after closing with a disappointing 73.

Green, who led from the second round, lived up to his billing as the future of Malaysian golf as he played consistently throughout the week before cruising to his first victory in a professional event. His nine-stroke advantage heading into the final round was hardly challenged.

“I didn’t make any mistake today. I played solid throughout. I stayed patient and gave myself chances. I was feeling pretty confident going into the final round but I thought I should still keep my game up. I didn’t feel more relaxed today. I tried not to think so much about winning and just focused on my game out there,” said the University of New Mexico senior.

The 2012 Malaysian Amateur Open champion got off to a strong start with an eagle on the first before sinking two birdies on the seventh hole and ninth hole, and returning with three consecutive birdies from the 12th and a further birdie on the 17th hole.

“This win means a lot to me and ranks pretty high in my list of achievements so far. More importantly, it shows that I can compete with the professionals out there. I’m planning to play in a few more amateur events before going back to school in August. Hopefully I can continue to stay consistent with my game,” added the prodigious talent.

While Airil was delighted to cap his best finish on the ADT so far this season, he also hailed the impressive performance by Green.“Gavin was really impressive. I think he has got the great potential of becoming a successful golfer. I won’t be surprised if he becomes the next top golfer in Malaysia – if he is not already. It’s always good to see young and talented players coming up in the local scene and I dare say, this guy is the complete package,” said the 36-year-old former Asian Tour winner.

“I played really good today although I made some mistakes which could have been avoided. But I’m pleased that my game is coming back after being hampered by an ankle injury and I’m looking forward to playing better in the remaining tournament this season,” added Airil.

As amateurs are not eligible to the prize money on offer, Airil will took home the winner’s prize purse of RM43,750 courtesy of finishing as the best-placed professional.

Leading final round scores (Malaysian unless stated):
262 – Gavin Kyle Green (a) 67-64-67-64
273 – Airil Rizman Zahari 68-71-69-65
276 – Kwanchai Tannin (THA) 74-67-66-69
278 – Ye Jian-feng (CHN) 68-69-78-63, Khor Kheng Hwai 68-67-73-70
279 – Jake Shepherd (ENG) 68-70-74-67, Shaaban Hussin 70-63-75-71
280 – Mathiam Keyser (RSA) 66-72-74-68, Jay Bayron (PHI) 66-72-74-68
281 – Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA) 72-71-69-69, Grant Jackson (ENG) 68-73-70-70, R. Nachimuthu 73-71-67-70, Akhmal Tarmizee Nazari 75-69-67-70, Annop Tangkamolprasert (THA) 69-74-68-70