DUTCHMAN VAN DER VALK IN SEVENTH HEAVEN IN MALAYSIA
Kuala Lumpur: Dutchman Guido Van Der Valk ended a seven-year winless run with a majestic seven-shot victory at the PGM-MIDF-KLGCC Classic on the Asian Development Tour on Sunday.
The 31-year-old comfortably preserved his overnight seven-shot cushion at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club’s West course, signing off with a closing one-over-par 73 to complete a wire-to-wire victory in the RM200,000 (approximately US$66,000) tournament.
Filipino Gerald Rosales failed to mount a challenge as he settled for second place in what was the eighth and final leg of the 2011 ADT season, closing with a 73.
With three Asian Tour cards at stake for the top-three finishers of the ADT Order of Merit, American Jonathan Moore comfortably finished top of the rankings with US$29, 579 after coming in fourth here.
Chinese Taipei’s Chiang Chen-chih took second place with a season haul of US$23,341 but countryman Kao Shang-hung had to endure a nervous wait before sealing third spot with US$19,874 when closest rival Takafumi Kawane of Japan failed to secure the top-four finish required to pip Kao for a priceless Asian Tour card.
Van Der Valk was over the moon with his victory, which was his career fifth but first since the Dutch PGA Championship in 2004. He accumulated a four-day total of seven-under-par 281.
“It’s awesome, it’s a good feeling,” smiled Van Der Valk, who came into the week in good form after finishing tied second in the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic on the Asian Tour earlier in the month.
“It was nice to stay in control and it was nice to finish the job. It’s my first wire-to-wire win and I’m happy,” added the Dutchman, who earned US$10,594.
Rosales got the lead down to four shots after the sixth hole but never got closer than that. “Guido didn’t start good but when he birdied the seventh and eighth holes, it settled him down. He did what he had to do,” said the Filipino.
Moore, a former US Walker Cup player and competing in his debut season in Asia, was delighted to top the rankings in a season which included one victory in Malaysia and four other top-four performances.
“This is unexpected. I’m thankful as over a year ago, I started a new plan with some new coaches and things started to click. I’ve played well in the ADT events and it is awesome,” said the American.
“When I first got to Qualifying School in Thailand in January, I was nervous coming out of the airport and the quality of competition has been strong here. I’m thankful that my wife Claire caddied all year for me as it’s really hard work to carry that bag in this heat.”
Kao, winner of the Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship last month, was a relieved man as he maintained his third position on the Merit list to earn his Asian Tour card for 2012. “I’m happy. I was quite relaxed this morning as I felt that I would get in but the wait (to find out if he was through) was quite long,” he said.
“Competing on the ADT this season has been good as I gained more competitive experience. I’m going to give the Asian Tour another shot next year,” said Kao.
The best Malaysian finisher in the PGM-MIDF-KLGCC Classic was Nicholas Fung, who was fifth after a closing 77 for a 296 total.
The ADT was launched last year by the Asian Tour with five tournaments where the aim is to create a career pathway for professional golfers to get onto the Asian Tour.
Leading final scores
281: Guido VAN DER VALK (Hol) 71-70-67-73
288: Gerald ROSALES (Phi) 74-70-71-73
289: Yosuke TSUKADA (Jpn) 72-75-70-72
293: Jonathan MOORE (USA) 74-72-73-74
296: Nicholas FUNG (Mas) 71-74-74-77
297: Marlon DIZON (Phi) 73-73-79-72
299: T.J. KIM (Kor) 76-76-74-73, R. Nachimuthu (Mas) 75-73-74-77
300: S. Murthy (Mas) 75-73-80-72, M. Sasidaran (Mas) 76-76-73-75, Pawin INGKHAPRADIT (Tha)77-70-76-77, S. Siva Chandhran (Mas) 77-73-72-78
Photo - Asian Tour
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