Johor Bahru, Malaysia, April 7: Singapore’s Johnson Poh broke through on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) in sensational style when he romped to a four-shot victory at the PGM Johor Championship on Saturday.
The 26-year-old dominated the event after shooting a sensational seven-under-par 65 to defeat Sweden’s Malcolm Kokocinski, who settled for second following a 67 at the RM225,000 (approximately US$58,000) event held at Palm Resort Golf and Country Club.
Ben Leong posted a 70 to finish as the best Malaysian in third place while Singapore’s Mardan Mamat rolled back the years with a superb 70 to end his campaign in fourth alongside Australia’s Kieran Pratt (67), Thailand’s Nitithorn Thippong (67) and Malaysia’s Arie Irawan (70).
Poh, who is coached by his father, was delighted to clinch his first ADT title in emphatic fashion after shooting his lowest four-day total of 21-under-par 267.
He started off solidly after mixing his card with six birdies against two bogeys through 15 holes but produced a grandstand finish with three straight birdies to claim a comfortable victory.
“Feels awesome to finally win on the ADT and my lowest four-round-total in any tournament that I’ve played. I think the biggest thing for me this week was that I stuck to the game plan and stayed calm on every shot. My caddy told me on the last hole, victory is here, and I had to remind him that we still have one more hole to go and we need to finish the last putt before we can celebrate,” said Poh, who won silver medals in the individual and team events in the 2009 and 2015 South East Asian Games
The young Singaporean hopes this victory will help him finish inside the top-five on the final 2018 ADT Order of Merit which comes with a 2019 Asian Tour card.
Despite missing out on the win, Kokocinski took pride in his finish this week and hopes to bring over his form to his next event which will be on the ADT in Bangladesh.
“I actually played really well all week just that Johnson did a little better. I hit all 18 greens today and I only missed four in total all week. I was reading the lines wrong today so if I could just get my putts to drop I could have pushed Johnson further but I am still happy with my finish and I like where my game is right now so I see good things happening pretty soon,” said Kokocinski.
Asian Tour winner, Leong, reckons he needs to continue working on his ball striking as he prepares for the upcoming Asian Tour events.
“I fought my way around today because I am not really hitting it very well. I think I was just lucky today. It wasn’t easy out there today because it was windier but I stayed patient and hung in there. My usual shot shape is left-to-right, and right now it’s just going straight so I need to fix that before my next couple of events on the Asian Tour,” said Leong.
Poh will take home a winner’s prize cheque of US$10,237 and is the third Singaporean to win on the ADT after compatriots Mardan Mamat and Quincy Quek became winners on the ADT in 2012.
Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points are offered on All ADT events with the winner earning a total of six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earn points on a sliding scale.
The leading five players on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2019 season.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.
Leading final round scores
267 - Johnson POH (SGP) 68 65 69 65
271 - Malcolm KOKOCINSKI (SWE) 68 70 66 67
274 - Ben LEONG (MAS) 67 70 67 70
275 - Mardan MAMAT (SGP) 73 70 67 65, Kieran PRATT (AUS) 70 68 70 67, Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) 70 69 69 67, Arie Irawan (MAS) 71 65 69 70
276 - Janne KASKE (FIN) 65 69 72 70
277 - Miguel CARBALLO (ARG) 71 70 69 67, Smithti TEERATRAKUL (THA) 69 72 69 67, Tarik CAN (USA) 69 68 72 68
278 - Greg MOSS (USA) 70 71 71 66, Quincy QUEK (SGP) 65 73 71 69, Sorachut HANSAPIBAN (THA) 67 69 70 72, KOH Deng Shan (SGP) 70 66 68 74