Kemarol Baharin won his third Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour title when he claimed the UMW Impian Championship crown with a three-stroke victory today.
The 29-year-old Kuala Lumpur player, who also won in Kelantan in 2011 and the Champion of Champions Tournament at Templer Park in Rawang at the beginning of last season, shot a final round four-under 68 at Impian Golf & Country Club that gave him a 17-under 271 total and earned him the winner’s cheque of RM30,600.
On a fourth and final day of low scoring in the RM180,000 event, co-sanctioned with the Asean PGA Tour, Kemarol’s fellow Malaysian Shaaban Hussin equalled the course record of Rashid Ismail, carding a bogey-free 10-under 62 that comprised an eagle and eight birdies.
After rounds of 73, 69 and 73 over the first three days, Shaaban settled for seventh place on 11-under 277.
The Thailand pair of Settee Prakongvech (68) and Sutijet Kooratanapisan (70) finished joint runners-up on 14-under-par 274, while their compatriot and joint second round leader Natthapong Niyomchon (70) was fourth, a shot further back.
Nachimuthu, a one-time PGM Tour Player of the Year and multiple winner on the circuit, could not follow up his sizzling rounds of 66 on the second and third days, and instead signed off with an even-par 72. That effort gave him a share of fifth place alongside Thailand’s Donlaphatchai Niyomchon (73) on 12-under-par.
Pleased with his victory that came after a week’s break, Kemarol said: “I am very happy to have won again.
“I think the week’s break from golf really did good to me. I played consistently well and I also got a few lucky breaks, which really helped me.
“Overall, my game was good as I did not feel much pressure and I think that was because of the break from the game. I hit the ball solid and when I did get into some trouble I also got a few lucky escapes.”
Shaaban, who went out in the first flight of the day, had a run of six-under over the five-hole stretch from No. 2.
“I felt that there was nothing to lose,” he said. “And with no-one in front of us I just played as aggressively as I could and it worked out very nice.
“I parred the opening hole and then went birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie over the next five holes. I had another birdie at the par-4 8th to make the turn in seven-under-par.”
Shaaban’s attack mode did not relent and he fired another three birdies on the back nine, at the 11th, 14th and 17th holes.
Despite this outstanding showing of golf, Shaaban said he still needed to practice and that was what he would do.
“I need to practice more,” he said. “I need to become more consistent with rounds of golf like today. I must concentrate on shooting low of four days and not just one or two rounds a tournament,” added the 35-year-old who last won the Orna title in Melaka in the second half of last year.
The next stop on the PGM Tour is the Johor Championship, co-sanctioned with the Asian Development Tour from April 8-11 at Johor Golf & Country Club.
Leading Fourth Round Scores
271 – Kemarol Baharin (Mas) 67-69-67-68
274 – Settee Prakongvech (Tha) 72-65-69-68, Sutijet Kooratanapisan (Tha) 69-67-68-70
275 – Natthapong Niyomchon (Tha) 73-64-68-70
276 – R Nachimuthu (Mas) 72-66-66-72, Donlaphatchai Niyomchon (Tha) 69-65-69-73
277 – Shaaban Hussin (Mas) 73-69-73-62
278 – Pipatpong Naewsuk (Tha) 71-69-69-69
280 – Mohd Rizal Amin (Mas) 70-70-69-71
281 – Tanatchan Puaktes (Tha) 70-73-68-70, Airil Rizman (Mas) 68-73-68-72
282 – Nicholas Fung (Mas) 70-69-71-72, Akhmal Tarmizee (Mas) 69-69-69-75
283 – Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) 74-68-73-68, Danny Chia (Mas) 72-71-70-70, Smithti Teeratrakul (Tha) 68-69-75-71
284 – Chanat Sakulpolphaisan (Tha) 73-72-70-69, Wisut Artjanawat (Tha) 70-71-71-72, Ben Leong (Mas) 74-71-72-67