Terengganu, Malaysia, August 24: Malaysia’s Iain Steel secured a sensational victory when he stormed to a closing eight-under-par 63 to win the PGM Terengganu Masters, a joint Asian Development Tour (ADT) and Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) event.
Steel, who won his first Asian DT title at the Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship a fortnight ago, played his way into the record books by becoming the first player on the ADT to win two straight events.
The Malaysian compiled 13-under-par 271 for a one-shot victory over unfortunate countryman Airil Rizman, who was leading until he suffered a two-stroke penalty for an inadvertent rules infraction on the 17th hole. The penalty was incurred for having touched and moved a loose impediment during his backswing in the lateral water hazard on the right of the fairway.
Airil, the 2007 Pakistan Open winner on the Asian Tour, settled for a 68 and a share of second with Indonesia’s Rory Hie (65) and Malcolm Kokocinski (67) of Sweden at the RM200,000 (approximately US$65,000) ADT event.
Filipino Mhark Fernando, Australian Scott Barr and Malaysian Shaaban Hussin totalled matching 275s to settle for tied fifth after posting rounds of 65, 66, 70 respectively at the Resorts World Kijal. Australia’s Darren Tan, who was the co-leader in the first two rounds, Filipino Rufino Bayron and overnight leader Grant Jackson of England, finished a further shot back in tied eighth place.
Steel turned in five-under 31 before trading four birdies against one bogey to overturn a four-shot deficit and claim his second victory which was worth US$10,654. His win shot him up to the top of the Order of Merit and he also earned six Official World Golf Ranking points.
The Malaysian, who has been struggling with a back injury in the last three seasons, has rediscovered some of his best form after playing and winning on the ADT.
“I had a fantastic round today. This week was great fun although it felt very different from the week in Chinese Taipei two weeks ago. I’ve been trying to finish as low as I could and I’m glad I managed to find my momentum as I get more and more comfortable with the golf course,” said a humbled Steel.
“To me, age is just a number but it does feel good to beat the younger players out here. I’m taking a four to five hours drive back to Kuala Lumpur later and rewarding myself with a good dinner!” added the 42-year-old.
A disappointed Airil said that he did not realise he had hit a loose impediment until one of his playing partners, England’s Grant Jackson, pointed it out. “But that’s how golf is. Some days everything goes according to plan and sometimes it does not. So I have to accept that it was not meant to be today,” he said.
The top three players to finish on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of this season will receive Asian Tour cards for 2014. All ADT events receive OWGR points, which will be used to determine the field for the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne in November and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Leading final round scores:
271 – Iain STEEL (MAS) 70-68-70-63
272 – Rory HIE (INA) 69-67-71-65, Malcolm KOKOCINSKI (SWE) 71-67-67-67, Airil Rizman ZAHARI (MAS) 65-67-72-68
275 – Mhark Fernando (PHI) 72-67-71-65, Scott Barr (AUS) 68-72-69-66, Shaaban HUSSIN (MAS) 69-68-68-70
276 – Darren TAN (AUS) 65-67-76-68, Rufino BAYRON (PHI) 70-67-71-68, Grant JACKSON (ENG) 69-67-68-72
277 – Kenneth DE SILVA (MAS) 71-69-71-66, Carl SANTOS-OCAMPO (PHI) 70-69-71-67, Nabil ABDUL (AUS) 67-69-70-71
278 – Haziq HAMIZAN (MAS) 70-71-70-67, Nicholas PUA (MAS) 70-69-70-69, R. Nachimuthu (MAS) 69-73-66-70