CHIA HOLDS HEAD HIGH AT CIMB ASIA PACIFIC CLASSIC, MALAYSIA
Kuala Lumpur: Local hero Danny Chia closed with a one-under-par 70 at the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia and took great pride with his tied 13th place finish on Sunday.
Chia had no expectations going into the US$6.1 million event, sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGA Tour, but enjoyed a memorable week where he raised local cheers after charging into contention in the third round.
While he failed to challenge the leaders in the final day, the Malaysian took consolation that his performance earned him US$85,000 which was his career’s biggest pay day, and also an audience with the King of Malaysia, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin after his round.
“Yesterday, I told myself that it won’t be easy. I was going to accept bad shots but recovered well. I did that today which I was happy about,” said Chia. “I felt the whole country was behind me.
It’s not easy to perform out there today. I guess in a way I didn’t let them down,” he added. Chia, who finished 11 strokes behind winner Bo Van Pelt of the United States, believes the experience this week will fuel his goal of returning to the winners’ circle on the Asian Tour.
“It has been one of my dreams to play with them (PGA Tour players) and it has been fantastic. The most that I’m happy about is myself, my game and how I played this week. It was unbelievable with how patient I was,” said Chia whose lone Asian Tour victory was in 2002.
After doing some soul searching, Chia will now hold on to a new mantra of staying patient.“I learned so much about myself, how to play this game. I’ve been very patient this week.
Now I’ve started to play with a lot of strategy. Previously I used to be very aggressive and trying to get into the green with a wedge. If I have a six iron now, it doesn’t matter as long as I can have a look at birdie,” said the 38-year-old.
Shaaban Hussin, the second Malaysian in the 48-man field, finished in tied 45th place with two-time Major champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina and was disappointed not to achieve his goal of finishing in the top-20.
“I’m disappointed but it is okay because I’m still learning. I still got a long way to go in my career,” said Shaaban, who shot a 72 to earn US$42,500.
Photo - Asian Tour
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