Asian Tour rookie Ryan Yip of Canada closed with a superb eight-under-par 63 to win by one-shot at the PGM Port Dickson Championship on Saturday.
Coming from five shots back, Yip marked his card with one eagle and seven birdies against a lone bogey to pip Malaysian Khor Kheng Hwai, who also signed for a 63, with a 20-under-par 264 total at the Port Dickson Golf and Country Club.
Overnight leader Arie Irawan of Malaysia was unable to replicate his good form as he carded a 72 to finish third place, four shots behind Yip, while Thailand’s Tirawat Kaewsiribandit settled for fourth place following a 65 at the RM200,000 (approximately US$60,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.
Yip, who secured his Asian Tour card at Qualifying School earlier this year, was delighted to emerge victorious in his first appearance on the ADT, which was launched in 2010 as a gateway to the Asian Tour.
“I woke up feeling confident that I can have another go in chasing for the win. I wanted to have a good showing this week to put my game in good shape ahead of next week’s event. I’m glad I managed to do it,” said the 29-year-old Canadian, who walked away with the winner’s prize purse of US$10,812 and six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points.
Currently ranked 65th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, Yip will be hoping to replicate his ADT success in the Mercuries Taiwan Masters on the Asian Tour next week.
“I wanted to play on the Asian Tour because I know it is a good platform for me to boost my world ranking with the OWGR points on offer. I’m looking forward to going back to play on the main Tour. Hopefully I can extend my good form into next week’s event,” added Yip.
Despite missing out on his maiden win by a mere one shot, Khor soaked in the positives as he posted his career’s low round and best finish on the ADT.
“My putter worked wonders today. I putted really well today, in fact for all four rounds this week. I have nothing to lose despite missing out on the win. It was a pretty amazing week for me,” said the 29-year-old Malaysian.
Meanwhile Arie, who led in the first three rounds, will have to wait longer for his maiden victory as he failed to fend off his fast-charging rivals.
The young Malaysian reeled in nine straight pars but hit his drive out-of-bounds on the 10th hole which resulted in a triple bogey. He dropped a shot on the 13th hole but recovered with three birdies in his last five holes.
“I failed to get into the rhythm out there. I tried to not think about how the other two guys are playing. I told myself to stay calm and positive out there and keep doing what I do best but Ryan (Yip) and Khor were really charging up the leaderboard,” said the 24-year-old.
“I am disappointed but it was a good experience. It’s my first time leading into the final round and I kind of know how different it feels between being in the lead and being in contention now. I’m still happy to finish in top-three. I believe my chance will come if I keep up with how I’ve been doing,” added Arie.
Since its inauguration in 2010, the ADT has grown from five events in the first year to a record 20 tournaments in 2014. The top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn Asian Tour cards for 2015.
All ADT events also receive Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points which is a boost for the game in the region.
Leading fourth round scores:
264 – Ryan YIP (CAN) 69-67-65-63
265 – KHOR Kheng Hwai (MAS) 69-67-66-63
268 – Arie IRAWAN (MAS) 65-66-65-72
269 – Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 68-69-67-65
273 – Jordan SHERRATT (AUS) 68-72-67-66, Sam BRAZEL (AUS) 68-67-69-69
274 – Guy WOODMAN (ENG) 69-69-67-69, Brett MUNSON (USA) 67-66-70-71
275 – Airil Rizman ZAHARI (MAS) 70-67-72-66, Alex KANG (USA) 67-70-71-67
276 – Suppakorn UTHAIPAT (THA) 71-72-67-66, Sattaya SUPUPRAMAI (THA) 70-68-69-69