An outstanding display of controlled aggression on the fourth and final day of the tournament propelled Ben Leong to a convincing victory in the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Impian Closed Championship in Kajang today.
The second round leader, who stumbled somewhat on the third day en route to conceding pole position, hit back today at Impian Golf & Country Club with an impressive eight-under 64. That round, which included nine birdies and a last-hole bogey, lifted Leong to a 17-under-par 271 total and four-stroke win in the RM180,000 PGM Tour event.
“I’m happy to have won here,” said the 30-year-old Leong, who has the distinction of also winning on the Asian Tour a few years ago.
“It was not as easy as it looks. I played well throughout, although in the third round yesterday I slipped up a little. But I’m happy to have bounced back today and put in such a solid round of golf.
“It’s always nice to win on Tour and this is no different. It obviously gives you more confidence and I’ll be looking forward to the next event,” added Leong, who hails from Sabah.
R. Nachimuthu played almost as good, firing a bogey-free six-under 66 to finish second on 13-under 275.
That effort followed a 67 yesterday and left the seasoned pro to note: “I played well yesterday and today, especially today, which was bogey-free.
“But it wasn’t good enough to win because Ben played extremely well for a 64 and that’s good for him – he deserves it.
“Still I’m happy with how I played – the last two days – which was really because of my putting. “I’ve been working extra hard on my putting because that is the one part of my game that I felt has been letting me down.
“I’ve been striking the ball well for some time now and my short game has not been that bad too, but my putting has been nowhere near where it should be and I put in a bit of extra time with it.
“Yesterday and today I putted well and it was reflected in the scores. Hopefully I can continue with it like that.”
Nachimuthu picked a cheque of RM20,340, largely due to a final round that an eagle and four birdies in it.
Lam, who came into the fourth round with an overnight two-stroke cushion, faded with a one-over 73. He finished in third place on 10-under 278 and said he never felt comfortable throughout the day.
“It was a tough day for me,” said the 28-year-old from Sabah who is still seeking a first win on the PGM Tour. “I never really got going today and I struggled throughout.
“But I learnt a few things out there today that I hope will help me in the future. It was a good thing for me to experience and I will take the positives from it and try to use it to my advantage in the future.”
S. Siva Chandhran (67) and Shahriffuddin Ariffin (68) were joint fourth on eighth-under 280, while Sukree Othman’s 65 lifted him into a tie for sixth alongside Kemarol Baharin, who had a 68. They were another shot back on seven-under 281.
Leading Fourth Round Scores
271 Ben Leong 69-67-71-64
275 R. Nachimuthu 72-70-67-66
278 Lam Yu Shuen 68-69-68-73
280 S. Siva Chandhran 74-70-69-67, Shahriffuddin Ariffin 68-75-69-68
281 Sukree Othman 69-71-76-65, Kemarol Baharin 71-67-75-68
282 Abel Tam 71-71-70-70, Mohd Zur'ie Harun 73-70-69-70, Shaifubari Muda 67-70-74-71
284 Kenneth Tobuse 71-79-65-69, Hans Jamil 71-73-70-70
285 Khor Kheng Hwai 71-75-68-71
286 Jonathan Wong 76-70-70-70, Iylia Jamil 72-66-76-72, Irfan Yusoff 76-72-71-67
287 Keegan Kam 75-68-74-70, M. Sasidaran 74-72-70-71, Ali Reza Khairuddin 69-75-71-72, A. Sasar 73-72-70-72, Arie Irawan 73-71-70-73, P. Gunasagaran 72-67-74-74