Malaysia’s Rizal Amin drained a 20-foot birdie putt to claim an emotional play-off victory over overnight leader Peter Richardson of England in the PGM MIDF KLGCC Championship on Saturday.
Entering the final round five strokes back, the 31-year-old Malaysian carded a three-under-par 68, which included a birdie on 18, to force extra time with Richardson, who struggled home with a 73 in the season-ending RM250,000 (approximately US$80,000) Asian Development Tour tournament.
Both players tied on eight-under-par 276 at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club’s East course before Rizal produced his winning moment which subsequently saw him break down in tears.
“I don’t even know how to describe this,” said a tearful Rizal as he celebrated his maiden ADT title.
“It’s been a long time. It’s been a struggle this year and I’ve managed to get a win. It’s such a great feeling to get the monkey off my back. It’s really great.”
The final round was delayed by two hours in the morning due to inclement weather and it affected Richardson, who led since the first day, the most. The Englishman was four over through 10 holes before rallying with birdies on 11 and 12 to stay ahead of Rizal.
However, the Malaysian produced a superb finish with birdies on 13, 15 and 18, the last from about 15 feet, to force extra. He earned US$13,961 for the win.
“I just told myself to play my game and be patient. I didn’t know I would make a late charge to tie him up. That’s incredible. It is unbelievable. I hit the putt so hard in the play-off that I thought it was going to go by the hole. It felt good to get that in,” said Rizal, who turned professional in 2011.
“It’s been an up-and-down career. One minute I am playing good, the next minute I am struggling. My coach and parents have been telling me to stay patient and that it would work out fine. I just stayed patient this week and thought positively all day.
“This is such a stepping stone for me. It’s such a big boost. I’m going to the Asian Tour Qualifying School next month and hope to get my card to play on the Asian Tour.”
Richardson was disappointed he let slip the opportunity to secure a second ADT victory. He said the delayed start threw him off balance and poor driving cost him the title.
“I drove the ball terribly from six through 11 and dropped several shots. I made some birdies and some unbelievable putts for pars coming in to just stay in it. Rizal played well and I thought he deserved to win. We’ve played a lot recently and I knew how well he was playing,” said Richardson.
“The two hour delay this morning … if we didn’t start the round, it would have been cancelled and it was all up in the air. But I just didn’t drive the ball well and just struggled. And Rizal took advantage.”
American Brett Munson closed with a 74 to finish tied fourth and successfully retained his fifth position on the final ADT Order of Merit ranking to secure his Asian Tour card for 2015 along with new ADT number one Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand, Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang, Niall Turner of Ireland and Thailand’s Sattaya Supupramai.
The top-four players skipped this week’s event in Malaysia to compete in the Asian Tour’s Bank BRI Indonesia Open.
Munson said: “This feels good. I had a good season. Wish I could have finished the last round better but overall I’ve managed to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish. I’ve been mostly consistent all year.
“There’s always a little stress when there are others who can catch you. I’m looking forward to next year. It’s the first time I’m having status on a primary tour and I’m looking forward to seeing what next year brings. I hope to continue to play good golf. If I can play consistently, I think I can be successful.”
Since its inauguration in 2010, the ADT has grown from five events in the first year to a record 21 tournaments in 2014. The ADT has announced a provisional 2015 schedule of a minimum 17 tournaments with several more to be announced in due course. All ADT events also receive Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.
Leading Final Round Scores
276: Rizal AMIN (Mas) 68-70-70-68, Peter RICHARDSON (Eng) 66-71-66-73
(Rizal wins with a birdie on first play-off hole)
280: Kemarol BAHARIN (Mas) 72-70-72-66
282: Shaaban HUSSIN (Mas) 73-72-70-67, Nakarintra RATANAKUL (Tha) 67-73-71-71, Mitsuhiko HASHIZUME (Jpn) 67-74-69-72, R. Nachimuthu (Mas) 73-66-70-73, Brett MUNSON (USA)71-69-68-74
284: Casey O’TOOLE (USA) 71-75-70-68, Kevin MARQUES (Aus) 72-69-74-69, Airil Rizman ZAHARI (Mas) 68-73-72-71