KUALA LUMPUR: Seventeen-year-old golf sensation Ben Leong carded the best individual score 281 gross over four days, including a five-under-par 67 on the final day last Saturday, to win the 43rd South-east Asia Amateur Golf Team Championship (Putra Cup) in Brunei.
It was Malaysia's first first win in the individual category in 20 years.
The last Malaysian winner in the individual category was Suffian Tan in 1983.
Despite Ben's strong finish in the 72-hole championship at the Royal Brunei Airlines Golf Club in Bandar Seri Begawan, the Malaysian team of Ben, S. Sivachandran, Faridilatras Othman and Mohd Sukree Othman Rashid finished third.
Thailand, whose best player Wisut Artjanawat was placed second on 284, won the team title with a total of 855 strokes followed by the Philippines on 861.
Malaysia had 864 strokes. The results were based on the best three scores each day.
Other countries that took part in the event were Singapore, Myanmar, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong, and Vietnam.
Meanwhile, in the SportExcel-Pan Global Insurance golf junior grand final, which was held at the Club Rahman Putra in Sungai Buloh yesterday, 16-year-old Chua Tze Jean won the girl's Under-18 overall title for the first time.
The Bukit Nanas School student had a total of 150 (77-73) in the two-day competitions.
Tze Jean, who also won the first leg and the fourth leg of the five-leg tournament, said she was surprised to win the overall title.
“I was expecting a tough fight from ValarieTan, who is based in US and currently training in Florida. But she failed to live up to expectations,” said Tze Jean, who is trained by national coach Harris Zainal.
Valarie, who is here for holidays, finished second on 155 (74-81) while Kalpana Devi of Bukit Jambul came in third with a score of 159 (80-79).
Eighteen-year-old Edmund Au of Selangor won the boys' Under-18 title for the first time with a total of 151 (77-74).
Chang Vui Khiong of Sabah (79-78) and Selangor's Mohd Amli (79-78) were both tied with a total score of 157 but Vui Khiong finished second on count back.
Andy Gan of Kota Permai won the boys' Under-15 overall title with a score of 151 (74-77) while Wong Jie Hau of Rahman Putra was second with 158 (77-81) and Gabriel Tan, the younger brother of Valarie, who is also training in Florida, was third with 159 (78-81).
Edmund and Andy the overall winners in the boys Under-18 and Under-15 categories will represent Malaysia in the International Junior competition in Manila, Philippines next month from Jan 6-9.