Kuala Lumpur, June 14: Malaysia’s top amateur Gavin Kyle Green became the first amateur to win on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) at the PGM Vascory Templer Park Championship on Saturday.
The big-hitting Green, who is playing on a sponsor’s invitation in his very first ADT event this week, closed with a flawless eight-under-par 64 for a sensational 11-stroke victory over countryman Airil Rizman at the RM250,000 (approximately US$80,000) ADT event.
The 20-year-old Malaysian also set a new 72-hole scoring record on the ADT 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 at the PGM Vascory Templer Park Championship, which is the eighth stop of the ADT this season.
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, which was launched in 2010 as a gateway to the premier Asian Tour.
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 round two, has proven to be the next rising star of the game 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 mistakes 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 Green, who is studying in his final year at the University of New Mexico.
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 hole and a further birdie on the 17th hole.
“This win means a lot to me. 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 young Malaysian, who was in contention at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters last year before settling for tied sixth place.
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. It’s always good to see young and talented players coming up in the local scene,” said the 36-year-old Airil.
“I played really good today although I made some mistakes which could have been avoided. There are a lot of good players on the ADT and it’s really good to be able to play with them. I’m looking forward to playing better in the remaining season ahead,” added Airil, who has one win on the Asian Tour.
As amateurs are not eligible to the prize money on offer, Airil will take home the winner’s prize purse of US$13,597 courtesy of finishing as the best-placed professional. His winnings this week has also propelled him to third position on the ADT Order of Merit led by Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei.
This season, the ADT will reward the top five players on the final Order of Merit with playing rights for the 2015 Asian Tour season.
Leading final round scores:
262 – Gavin Kyle GREEN (A) (MAS) 67-64-67-64
273 – Airil Rizman ZAHARI (MAS) 68-71-69-65
276 – Kwanchai TANNIN (THA) 74-67-66-69
278 – YE Jian-feng (CHN) 68-69-78-63, KHOR Kheng Hwai (MAS) 68-67-73-70
279 – Jake SHEPHERD (ENG) 68-70-74-67, Shaaban HUSSIN (MAS) 70-63-75-71
280 – Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 66-72-74-68, Jay BAYRON (PHI) 71-68-73-68
281 – Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 72-71-69-69, Grant JACKSON (ENG) 68-73-70-70, R. Nachimuthu (MAS) 73-71-67-70, Akhmal TARMIZEE (MAS) 75-69-67-70, Annop TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA)69-74-68-70