Sunday June 10, 2012
Hillier claims top spot
Australian comes good to clinch Malaysian Ladies Amateur Open title.
AUSTRALIA’S Whitney Hillier lived up to her top billing as she usurped defending champion and hot favourite Kelly Tan to clinch the 29th Malaysian Ladies Amateur Open on May 31.
Conducted by the Malaysian Ladies Golf Association (MALGA), the 29th Malaysian Ladies Amateur Open at Kiara was a 54-hole stroke play event being played on the par-71, 4,929-metre East Course at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.
The 107-player field featured players from Australia (11), Brunei (3), China (3), Hong Kong (13), Indonesia (2), India (4), Korea (2), Japan (2), Philippines (5), Singapore (3), South Africa (1), Thailand (9), Taiwan (4) and Malaysia (45). In all, 14 foreign countries were represented.
Malga president, Tunku Puteri Jawahir said: “Of course we were disappointed that Kelly Tan did not manage to successfully defend her title, but Whitney deserved the win because she is a great fighter.
“I would like to put on record my gratitude to our group of volunteers who ran the tournament led by Dato’ Raby for a well-organised tournament.”
The 21-year-old from Perth, who is ranked 15th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, bounced back from a poor second round, lighting up the East Course at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club with a sizzling 6-under-par 65 to beat local challenger Kelly by one stroke.
Filipino Dottie Ardina, the 2007 individual champion, finished third on two-under-par 211 while her compatriot Princess Superal was a further shot back in fourth after a round of 73. Former Malaysian Amateur Open winner Aretha Pan Herng was ranked fifth on level-par 213.
“It’s just been an amazing week really. I just went out there today with no expectations and had so much fun and support out there. I’m really happy with the way I played today and being the champion is a great bonus,” said Hillier, who claimed her third amateur crown of the year having won the Lake Macquarie Amateur Open and the Riverdale Women’s Cup in her native Australia earlier in the year.
A disappointing first nine of three bogeys against a birdie saw Kelly failing to get her game going early on and her performance continued to unravel on the back nine. The top-ranked Malaysian admitted that nerves came into play towards the end.
“I didn’t know that Whitney had charged back until the 15th and I guess it did raise the stakes a little bit and the pressure got into my head,” said Kelly, who dropped a bogey on the 16th to drop behind Hillier before seeing her short birdie putt on the 17th lip out.
“It hurts because I lost by such a narrow margin but if I’m taking something from this tournament, its that I should play every shot as if it’s the last,” she added dejectedly.
The nation’s leading team of Kelly, Aretha Pan and Iman Ahmad Nordin emerged victorious in the team championship for the Mary Williams Trophy.
Leaderboard Division 1
208 Whitney Hillier (Aus) 68-75-65
209 Kelly Tan Guat Chen (Mas) 68-67-74
211 Dottie Ardina (Phi) 68-75-68
212 Princess Superal (Phi) 71-67-74
213 Aretha Pan (Mas) 71-69-73
214 Savitree Thavong (Tha) 71-70-73
217 Suthavee Chanachai (Tha) 73-71-73
219 Sitarnat Singhanart (Tha) 73-75-71
Koh Sock Hwee (Sin) 74-72-73
Vani Sanjeev Kapoor (Ind) 73-70-76