PETALING JAYA: Thor Chuan Leong is still the undisputed national snooker champion.
The 29-year-old defending champion defeated Mohd Reza Hassan 6-2 in the final at the M Club Snooker & Dart in Jalan 222 here on Tuesday.
He has now won the title five times – equalling Sam Chong’s feat.
Chuan Leong, who also triumphed in 2009, 2013 and 2014, earned RM7,000 for his efforts while Reza received RM3,200.
The two also met in last year’s final, with Chuan Leong outplaying his best pal 6-0.
This time, Reza put up a better fight.
They fought for almost three hours before Chuan Leong clinched the fifth frame to edge 3-2 ahead before going on to win the next three to seal victory.
“I’m happy to defend my title and proud to match Sam’s record as well,” said Chuan Leong, the sole Malaysian representative on the World Tour.
“I may have won it for the fifth time, but I can tell you that winning the national championship is no easy feat. You’ve got to be at your very best to win it, which I think I did this week.”
As the top seed, Chuan Leong was exempted from the first two rounds in the 256-man field.
He began his campaign with a 4-0 thrashing of Malcolm Yeng in the last 64 before ousting Alvin Chin 4-0, three-time champion Ng Ann Seng 5-2, Thean Mun Cheong 5-1 and Lim Kok Leong 6-2.
For Reza, it was another case of being so close, yet so far. The 35-year-old has now lost all his five finals – including in 2004 (to Chew Lean Teng), 2005 (to Ann Seng) and 2009 (to Chuan Leong).
“Five defeats in five finals ... that’s really hard to take. But at least I lost to a better player. My buddy Thor was so steady and consistent,” said Reza.
“I’ll never give up trying to become a national champion.
“I’ll keep going and believing that my time will come soon.”