Rising star Gavin Green edged title holder Ben Leong in a playoff to win the SapuraKencana National Classic at TPC Kuala Lumpur and earn a lucrative start in the CIMB Classic.
The duo closed with matching one-under-par 71s to finish regulation play tied on four-under-par 212. They returned to the 18th hole where Green emerged victorious with a birdie on the first extra hole to earn his debut at the CIMB Classic next month.
Leong settled for second after missing a close range birdie on the 54th hole, while Khor Kheng Hwai finished a further shot back in third place following a final round 72 at the TPC Kuala Lumpur’s West Course.
Green got off to a fine start when he holed three birdies in his opening 10 holes but slipped back with bogeys on holes 13, 15 and 16. He trailed Leong by one heading into the penultimate hole but pulled off a gutsy 15-foot birdie to draw level.
The 22-year-old Green was delighted to add another feather to his cap after a superb season where won two titles on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) and represented Malaysia in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“I was a bit nervous coming down the stretch but the birdie on 17 was huge,” said the big-hitting Green. “The whole week I missed so many putts so I’m thankful I made that birdie on that hole and in the play-off.
“Honestly, I’m surprised that Ben missed the birdie on the last. I guess even professionals get nervous. After he missed, I told myself that I have another chance in the play-off and I did my best to win it.
“Playing in the CIMB Classic will be a huge achievement for me this year. It has been a good year so far and this will be another positive in my career. I can’t wait to play in my first PGA TOUR event on home soil,” added Green, who won RM22,000.
Leong hit a super chip into the par-five 18th hole in regulation play but was disappointed to miss the short birdie putt for the outright win.
“Obviously I was nervous. I read it left but pulled it. I’m disappointed but this is all part of the process. Good for Gavin, he was cool and composed under pressure and played good golf today,” said Leong.