Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Gavin Kyle Green inked his name into the Asian Development Tour (ADT) record books by becoming the first amateur to win on the circuit.
The big-hitting Malaysian, playing on a sponsor’s invitation in his first ADT event, closed with a flawless eight-under-par 64 for a sensational 11-stroke victory over compatriot Airil Rizman at the RM250,000 (about US$80,000) PGM Vascory Templer Park Championship.
Green, aged 20, also set a new 72-hole scoring record on the ADT with his four-day total of 26-under-par 262 at Templer Park Country Club.
Rizman signed for a 65, his best round of the week, to take second place while Thai Kwanchai Tannin was three shots further back in third on 276 in the eighth leg of the 2014 ADT season.
China’s Ye Jianfeng, who returned with the day’s lowest score of 63, shared fourth place with local hope Khor Kheng Hwai to mark his best finish on the ADT, which was launched in 2010 as a gateway to the Asian Tour.
Defending champion and reigning Order of Merit winner Nicholas Fung of Malaysia slipped to tied-15th after closing with a disappointing 73.
Green, who led from round two, played consistently throughout the week before cruising to his first victory in a professional event. His nine-stroke advantage heading into the final round was hardly challenged.
“I didn’t make any mistakes today. I played solid throughout. I stayed patient and gave myself chances. I was feeling pretty confident going into the final round but I thought I should still keep my game up. I didn’t feel more relaxed today. I tried not to think so much about winning and just focused on my game,” said Green, who is studying in his final year at the University of New Mexico.
The 2012 Malaysian Amateur Open champion got off to a strong start with an eagle on the first before sinking birdies on the seventh and ninth. He picked up three consecutive birdies from the 12th and added a further birdie on 17.
“This win means a lot to me. It shows that I can compete with the professionals. I’m planning to play in a few more amateur events before going back to school in August. Hopefully I can continue to stay consistent with my game,” added Green, who contended at last year’s Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters where he eventually settled for tied sixth place.
Rizman hailed Green’s performance. “Gavin was really impressive. I think he has got great potential to become a successful golfer. I won’t be surprised if he becomes the next top golfer in Malaysia,” said 36-year-old Rizman.
As amateurs are not eligible to win prize money, Rizman took home the winner’s prize purse of US$13,597 courtesy of finishing as the best-placed professional.
Those winnings have propelled him to third position on the ADT Order of Merit, led by Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei.