Malaysia’s Ben Leong completed a wire-to-wire victory on home soil in the PGM Sabah Championship after closing with a three-under-par 69 to win his second Asian Development Tour (ADT) title.
The 32-year-old Sabahan, who started the round with a two-shot edge, dropped a shot on the par-five second hole but recovered brilliantly with four birdies on his way home for a winning total of 11-under-par 277 at his home club, Sabah Golf and Country Club.
American rookie Sam Gillis returned with a 69 to take second place on his own, marking his best finish so far in his first season on the tour.
Japan’s Shinichi Mizuno closed with three straight birdies for a 72 to grab a share of third place on 283 alongside American Greg Moss, who posted a 67. Finland’s Janne Kaske settled a further two shots back in fifth following a 67.
Leong, who could have played at the Asian Tour’s TAKE Solutions Masters in Bengaluru this week, chose to play at home as he wants to spend more time with his new-born son Zac. It has proven to be a wise decision for Leong, who had his dad N.C. on his bag.
“I didn’t feel much pressure at all. I was just focused on my game and wasn’t even concerned about what was happening on the leaderboard. It’s definitely sweeter to have a win on home ground with my wife watching me and my father supporting me on the bag,” said Leong, whose first ADT win came at the 2017 PGM Northport Glenmarie Championship.
“I played some solid golf today and made no mistakes. I’m just glad to have found something in my game as I start preparing to play in the Shinhan Donghae Open on the Asian Tour next month. I’m feeling more confident now and I can’t wait to bring this confidence over to the rest of the season.” added Leong.
Leong would take home a winner’s prize purse of US$10,096 and receive six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points, thanks to his victory. The top-six players and ties will also earn OWGR points based on a sliding scale.
The RM225,000 PGM Sabah Championship is the 12th leg on the ADT’s 2018 schedule. All ADT events are afforded Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status. The winner of each tournament receives a minimum of six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earn points on a sliding scale.
The leading seven 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.
Leading final scores:
277 – Ben LEONG (MAS) 69 69 70 69
280 – Sam GILLIS (USA) 72 71 67 70
283 – Greg MOSS (USA) 72 72 72 67, Shinichi MIZUNO (JPN) 71 70 70 72
285 – Janne KASKE (FIN) 73 70 75 67
287 – Johnson POH (SGP) 74 68 74 71, Brett MUNSON (USA) 73 73 70 71
288 – Jeremy WENDELKEN (USA) 72 70 73 73
289 – Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) 73 74 73 69, Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) 77 70 73 69