Sunday October 28, 2012
Nicholas ends frustrating run with a win at Palembang
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung ended a frustrating run of second place finishes by winning the US$150,000 Palembang Musi Championship at the Palembang Golf Club yesterday.
He fired a final round four-under 68 for a 270 total to beat Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul by two strokes in the Asean PGA Tour’s richest event of the season.
Gunn came in with a 70 and the result was sweet revenge for Nicholas as he was beaten by the Thai in a sudden-death playoff in the previous Asean PGA Tour event – the Singha Esan Open in August.
Antonio Lascuna of the Philippines claimed third place after shooting a 66. He finished two shots behind Gunn.
George Gandranata ended as the leading Indonesian in fourth after returning a 69.
The result means that Nicholas, Gunn and Filipino Jay Bayron qualify for the US$6mil Barclays Singapore Open in two weeks’ time as they are the leading three players from the money list.
“This is fantastic,” said the bespectacled Nicholas, who finished 18-under for the tournament.
“Gunn has been playing so well ... so it gives me a lot of confidence. Now I get to play in the Barclays Singapore Open. It is my dream to play with Phil Mickelson,” said the Sabah-born Nicholas.
He was two shots behind playing partner Gunn at the turn but he stormed ahead with a birdie on 11th and an eagle on the par-five 14th.
While the Malaysian was charging, Gunn bogeyed the 13th to see the title slip away.
Gunn said: It was raining for a few holes on the back nine and that really put me off. I am not used to it.
“That was my first time playing in the rain in a tournament. I am not too disappointed as I still get to play in the Singapore Open.”
Nicholas claimed a cheque for US$24,050 to move to the top of the Merit list while Gunn earned US$16,465.
Nicholas, 22, also won the PGM Negri Sembilan Classic on the Malaysian local circuit last week and will thus head to Singapore brimming with confidence.
He won the Mercedes-Benz Masters Vietnam in 2010 during his rookie year and followed that up by finishing runner-up on four occasions, including in last year’s Palembang Musi Championship.
Defending champion Wisut Artjanawat of Thailand returned a 71 to finish joint ninth.
The next event on the Asean PGA Tour is the US$100,000 Gawa Padi Classic in Makassar, Indonesia, next month.