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Tuesday June 25, 2013

Pariya hails Gavin as region’s new hope

Malaysia’s future: Amateur Gavin Kyle Green
played well to share sixth spot at the Worldwide
Holdings Selangor Masters. Malaysia’s future: Amateur Gavin Kyle Green played well to share sixth spot at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian amateur Gavin Kyle Green not only left his mark again in a professional golf tournament but has made the Asian Tour’s established stars in awe of his talent.

The 19-year-old held his own for a share of sixth spot at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters over the weekend. He showed he can match the region’s best players when he spearheaded the home charge since day one and upstaged several of the Tour’s marquee names after four days of intense competition at the Seri Selangor Golf Club.

Gavin was also the top Malaysia finisher at the Iskandar Johor Open last year and repeated the act at the Maybank Malaysian Open in March. He was placed inside the top 25 in both events.

Thailand’s Pariya Junhasavasdikul, who completed a wire-to-wire victory at the Selangor Masters, hailed the lanky Gavin as the next hope for Asian golf.

“In two to three years, I won’t be able to catch up with him. I told him to start buying a house in the United States. He has the distance. At the par five fifth green, he hit a tee shot and then used a sand wedge to get to the green. I told him that he is good enough for the US PGA Tour right now,” said Pariya, who scored a one-shot win over Anirban Lahiri of India.

“There’s no such thing as a stepping stone for him. He will be on the PGA Tour quicker than he thinks,” said the 29-year-old Thai.

Australia’s Scott Hend, a three-time winner on the Asian Tour, played alongside Gavin in the opening two rounds and was also impressed.

“I was in the same flight with him on Thursday and Friday. He was playing like how I do on Saturday and Sunday. He is very aggressive. I guess he’s got nothing to lose at the moment and all to gain.

“He goes for his shots like any 19-year-olds. He has a bright future. He is a good ball striker and he hits it very long,” said Hend.

Hend, however, believes Gavin will need to get used to the short putter.

The Malaysian is now using a belly putter, which will be banned in 2016.

“I don’t know what he’s going to do with the belly putter. He’s got a good swing and it seems to have a lot of good things going for him. He is very young and he just needs to learn to use the short putter,” said the Australian.

Gavin, the University of New Mexico undergraduate, was pleased with his performance.

“But I’ve got to play better when I make the cut. I played well all week. I can’t complain about that. I’ve got to practise more, especially my short game. I believe I’m getting close to them (the pros). It’s a good experience,” said Gavin, who was tied for the lead on the front nine before ending with a one-over 73 on Sunday for a total of four-under 280.

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