SEVEN handicapper Yasser Arafat Ahmad shot a gross five-over 77 and Siw Tong Larm carded a nett score of five-under-par 67 to earn their places in the Prudential Astro Masters grand final next month.
Arafat and Siw topped the gross and nett leaderboards, respectively, in the qualifying round held at Meru Valley Golf & Country Club in Ipoh, Perak. And for their success, the top two players will travel to the Cambodian capital of Phnon Penh for the showdown from Nov 15 to 17.
A regular in the Prudential Astro Masters golf series, Arafat said he was a bit surprised to have won, but also happy that he did.
“I didn’t expect to qualify because there are many strong single handicappers in the field.
“But it feels great to have finally done it after so many years of trying,” added the 42-year-old, who has been in the game the past 18 years.
“I have been playing in the Prudential Astro Masters for many years and it is my love for the game that keeps me coming back to this tournament each year.”
Nett champion Siw, who played off a 13 handicap and made the trip up from Kuala Lumpur especially for the tournament, said: “It really feels good. I too have been trying to qualify for a few years now.
“At last, I have finally achieved my ambition of reaching the grand final and it is a bonus in a way because this will be my first visit to Phnom Penh,” added the 48-year-old who came through on countback.
In the A Medal category eight-handicapper Abdul Rahim Malik signed for a 70 nett to take the title.
Hashim Naian, who also played off an eight handicap, finished runner-up on countback, edging out Azahar Kamaruddin after he too returned with a 71.
Choo Khin Min (14 handicap) claimed the B Medal with a four-under 68 nett, while 16-handicapper Mohd Zamri Mat Din was second with a 70 and Cheah Nyoor Fong (13) third, another stroke back on 71.
Eighteen-handicapper Siva G. took the C Medal title with a five-under 67 nett.
Abdul Muhaymin Abdullah (19) had a 70 in second place, while Zainal Abidin Othman (21) was third with a 72.
Abdul Muhaymin also won the nearest-to-line prize at the par-4, 338m 13th hole.
The longest drive honours went to gross champion Yasser after he blasted his ball 247.8m down the fairway.
The Sure-to-Win prize of a 65in Panasonic LED full-HD TV was won by Mohd Shamsuri Ishak. His tee shot on the par-3 137-metre 2nd hole was marked at 10 feet from the flagstick.
The grand lucky draw prize of a Titoni watch worth RM3,700 went to Shaharuddin Musa.
As the Prudential Astro Masters celebrates its 21st anniversary this year, the grand final will be held at the Grand Phnom Penh Golf Club and Garden City Golf Club in Phnom Penh.
The ninth and 10th qualifiers are set for Shan Shui Golf & Country Club in Tawau, Sabah tomorrow and Tropicana Golf & Country Club in Petaling Jaya, Selangor on Oct 18.
Star Media Group is the official media for the Prudential Astro Masters tournament.
Meru Valley Results
Yasser Arafat Ahmad (7) 77.
Siw Tong Larm (13) 67ocb.
A Medal (nett): 1. Abdul Rahim Malik (8) 70, 2. Hashim Naian (8) 71ocb 3. Azahar Kamaruddin (10) 71ocb.
1. Choo Khin Min (14) 68, 2. Mohd Zamri Mat Din (16) 70, 3. Cheah Nyoor Fong (13) 71ocb.
1. Siva G. (18) 67, 2. Abdul Muhaymin Abdullah (19) 70, 3. Zainal Abidin Othman (21) 72.