Airil Rizman won for the second time on the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour this season when he clinched the RM180,000 PGM I&P Group Closed Championship on a playoff at Kinrara Golf Club in Puchong.
The Tour’s reigning Player of the Year started with a one-stroke lead over Kenneth De Silva, and was two ahead of Nicholas Fung.
By the end of regulation, Airil and Fung were tied on 13-under 271 and the playoff ensued, which the former won at the first extra hole. Airil closed with a three-under 68, while Fung had an five-under-par 66.
A fiery performance over the first 10 holes had Fung move into a three-stroke lead – helped by an eagle at the seventh hole. But a bogey at No. 12 saw his lead shrink to two and when Airil eagled the 14th and birdied the 15th, while Fung had a birdie of his own at the 14th, things were all square again.
Airil, who won the Swiss-Garden Closed Championship in July, said after his victory: “It was tough out there and I’m really happy to have won again.
“I felt that I played well this week, even if the course set-up was difficult. I hit the ball solidly and when it got interesting after Nicholas went in front at the 7th hole, I maintained a good level of focus and confidence – I think that is what made the difference.”
Airil picked up a cheque worth RM30,600 and also singled out the course for what he said was “in good condition throughout the tournament”.
Fung, who has also won on Tour this season, said despite his runner-up finish, he was “happy” with how he played. “I would have liked to have won again, but I came up just short,” he said. “But I’m still happy with how I played and have been playing recently. I have a win and six top-5 finishes, so that gives me encouragement,” he added.
De Silva, who carded a last round 70 for a 10-under 274 and was also in the championship (last) flight, said his putter let him down.
“I hit the ball well this week,” he noted. “But my putter did not get hot. I missed putts from everywhere and that cost me.”
Shaaban Hussin, who led the tournament after a first round 63, was fourth on 275, following a final round 68, while Kim Leun Kwang carded a 66 to climb to fifth place, another shot back.
Top-ranked amateur Low Khai Jei (67) continued with his recent good showings, finishing tied for sixth alongside Hans Jamil (69) on seven-under 277.
That was the 19-year-old’s third top-six finish this season and it came after he won in Melaka last week and a top-three spot the event before that.
Leading Fourth Round Scores
* 271 -13 Airil Rizman 66-72-65-68, Nicholas Fung 69-67-69-66
274 -10 Kenneth De Silva 70-67-67-70
275 -9 Shaaban Hussin 63-73-71-68
276 -8 Kim Leun Kwang 69-69-72-66
277 -7 Low Khai Jei (A) 70-72-68-67, Hans Jamil 71-66-71-69,
278 -6 Khor Kheng Hwai 68-72-69-69, Sukree Othman 66-71-69-72
279 -5 S. Siva Chandhran 70-71-70-68
280 -4 R. Nachimuthu 68-71-70-71, Akhmal Tarmizee 70-72-65-73
281 -3 Shaifubari Muda 71-72-70-68
282 -2 Iylia Jamil 73-69-68-72, Kemarol Baharin 69-71-69-73
283 -1 Ben Leong 73-71-72-67, Danny Chia 75-71-72-65
284 E Muhammad Alwarith Damian 69-68-75-72, Lim Eng Seng 66-72-73-73, M. Sasidaran 67-70-70-77