Local hope Arie Irawan survived a late scare to win his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) title after shooting a four-under-par 68 at the PGM Sime Darby Harvard Championship on Saturday.
The 24-year-old made a crucial par save on the 16th hole from the rough after a poor drive to win by one-shot with an 18-under-par 270 total at the RM200,000 (approximately US$60,000) ADT event.
Newcomer Sean Riordan of New Zealand and overnight leader Sukree Othman of Malaysia settled for tied second after returning with a 67 and 70 respectively to finish on 271 at the Harvard Golf and Country Club.
“I still feel a little nervous. I’m still shaking. I don’t know how I did it but I did it. I told myself to focus on my breathing. If I do that, then I can play well. I wanted to stay in the present and not think too far ahead,” said Arie.
Rated as one of the most promising talents in Malaysia, Arie finished in sixth place on the ADT Order of Merit last year to earn an Asian Tour card for 2015. It was a special case for the Malaysian as Sattaya Supupramai, ranked fourth on the ADT Order of Merit, finished inside the top-60 on the Asian Tour Merit list.
Arie rode on his luck again today when he was distracted on his downswing on the 16th hole. He escaped with a par but admits that three-foot putt was decisive in his victory.
“My tee shot almost went into the water but luckily it stayed in the rough. I got disturbed by the sound of a fluttering banner just as I was on my downswing. That three-foot par putt was really nerve-wracking!” he explained.
Arie got off to a fine start in the final round when he chipped in for eagle on the third hole. It was cancelled out by two bogeys but he held his nerve to romp home to victory with two birdies in each half.
He earned US$9,678 and six Official World Golf Ranking points for the win which will likely move him above Danny Chia and make him the highest placed Malaysian in the world rankings ahead of the Maybank Malaysian Open next week.
“I was looking at the world ranking and I was a few notches behind Danny Chia to be the highest ranked Malaysian in the world. It is very important for me because my goal is to push myself into the Olympics in 2016,” Arie explained.
Since it was inaugurated 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.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com
Leading final round results:
270 – Arie IRAWAN (MAS) 63-71-68-68
271 – Sean RIORDAN (NZL) 70-68-66-67, Sukree OTHMAN (MAS) 70-65-66-70
273 – Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 70-65-69-69
274 – Oskar ARVIDSSON (SWE) 69-66-70-69
275 – Shaaban HUSSIN (MAS) 70-70-69-66, MJ DAFFUE (RSA) 70-68-70-67, Danny CHIA (MAS) 69-68-67-71, Kemarol BAHARIN (MAS) 70-69-64-72
276 – Terumichi KAKAZU (JPN) 66-74-67-69, Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN) 69-69-67-71
277 – Grant JACKSON (ENG) 68-71-69-69, Casey O’TOOLE (USA) 71-68-69-69, Shaifubari MUDA (MAS) 69-69-68-71, Steve HAN (USA) 71-68-66-72