Mohamad Shahidi Yahya of Ayer Keroh Country Club emerged champion in the inaugural National Final of the Prudential Astro Masters when he returned a score of 79 gross in adverse weather conditions at the Kota Permai GCC.
Shahidi and Abdul Mizan Silai of Kuala Kubu Baru Golf Club finished with identical scores but the Malaccan lad won the countback, thanks to a better back nine score. Amril Nurman Ramli of Seri Selangor Golf Club finished third one stroke further.
All three players together with the top three from the nett category make up the final six to advance to the grand final in Bali from Oct 4 to 7, resulting in a record 48 golfers qualifying for the Prudential Astro Masters finale in the 18-year history of Malaysia’s biggest and most popular national golf series.
The inaugural National Final at Kota Permai comprised gross and nett representatives from 36 selected golf clubs. The event was held up for two hours due to torrential rain but the fairways and greens especially, held up well when the match resumed.
Alan Yap Chin Tong missed out on the grand final by one stroke, but the Tropicana club champion took home a RM2,100 Panasonic Lumix Camera for fourth placing. Fifth was Han Choong Ching, who won a Bridgestone driver.
Winning the nett category was Lee Mee Yek of Pulai Springs GCC. The Johorean is the only female golfer to qualify for the grand final in Bali. Mee Yek, a 13-handicapper, finished with a four-under 68, defeating Wan MohdAnuar Wan Mohd of Resort World Kijal in Terengganu, by one stroke. Third-place winner was Brian Kaam Chee Mun of Tropicana GCR. The 16-handicapper played par golf. All three advanced to the Bali final.
The Prudential Astro Masters grand final will be played at the award-winning Nirwana Bali Golf Club designed by legendary Greg Norman and the Bali National Golf Club which recently underwent an extensive makeover. It was designed by Nelson, Wright and Haworth. The same course architects undertook the re-design project.
Meanwhile in the 19th leg at Kota Permai GCC, Mohd Haeriman Nassim made a mockery of the handicapping system when he won the overall nett category with a maximum allowed 67. Mohd Haeriman finished 12 under his handicap of 17, meaning he played to a five handicap.
The ex-caddy from Kelab Golf Negara Subang won after a countback on handicaps with Faiz Mohd Noor and Mohd Norisham Nisam, who had handicaps of 19 and 23, respectively. Mohd Haeriman will be given a handicap of five for the grand final in Bali.
Former KPGCC club champion Zakaria Mohammad carded an even par 72 to win the gross category and book his place to the grand final in Bali.
Meanwhile, Fakhrul Azmi Mukip and Chen Kwee Sang emerged as the 41st and 42nd qualifiers to the grand final when they emerged gross and nett winners in the final leg at Kelab Rahman Putra.
Fakhrul carded a front nine of 39 but improved by two strokes on his return home for a four-over 76. He won by two strokes over Alan Yap.
Only two players managed to score the maximum allowed five-under 67 nett but Chen got the nod after a countback with Toon Chong Kai, the former having a lower handicap of 13 against Toon’s 20. Toon however gained considerable consolation when he won the C Medal and a Panasonic 40-inch LED television set.
Kalvin Chai was a happy golfer when he was nearest the pin on the short 15th hole, his effort earning him a Panasonic 50-inch LED TV. He also won a Panasonic Bread Maker for finishing second in the C Medal.
Mohd Faizal finally realised his dream of qualifying for a Prudential Astro Masters grand final when he won the nett division at Damai Golf & Country Club in Kuching.
The 14 handicapper scored a five-under 67. Awang Sani Seruji also qualified for his first grand final by winning the gross category. He shot a five-over 77.
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