Sarawak, Malaysia: Yutaka Araki broke into the Asian Development Tour (ADT) winner’s circle for the first time after carding a final round three-under-par 69 at the PGM MNRB Championship.
The 38-year-old Araki became the third Japanese to win on the ADT this season following Shohei Hasegawa and Kazuki Higa. Araki posted a 17-under-par 271 total at the RM225,000 (about US$58,000) event.
Local hope Shahriffuddin Ariffin took second place, two shots behind Araki, following a 71, while Japan’s Shinichi Mizuno (65) and Finland’s Janne Kaske (68) shared third place on 275 at the Damai Golf and Country Club.
Araki, who came through Asian Tour Qualifying School this year, was delighted to receive a boost after an underwhelming season in which he has made just five cuts in his last 10 starts on the ADT and only one cut on the Asian Tour.
“It’s such a great feeling. I can’t wait to tell my family that I won! To finally win on the ADT just proves all my hard work is coming together,” said the Japanese, who joined the play-for-pay ranks in 2004.
Playing in the final group for the first time this season, Araki held his nerve to trade four birdies against one bogey and take home a winner’s prize purse of US$9,503 and earn six Official World Golf Ranking points.
“I started out a little slow in the first nine but finally found some momentum on hole seven when I rolled the putt in for birdie. I was pretty nervous on the second nine because I knew I was leading but my caddie helped calm me down.
“Now that I have won on the ADT my next goal would be to be in the top-seven on the Order of Merit,” said the Japanese, who now sits in 19th place on the money list.
Ariffin, who was in the lead for the first three rounds, took pride in his second-place finish, which saw him climb to sixth place on the Order of Merit.
“I didn’t do well on the greens this week but overall I am happy with my performance. Now that I am in the top-seven I have my eye on an Asian Tour card and I hope to stay consistent the rest of this season,” added the 18-year-old Malaysian.