Sekito Comes of Age in Penang

Naoki Sekito celebrates his maiden ADT title.

Penang, Malaysia: Naoki Sekito captured his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) victory with a four-under-par 68 in the final round of the RM225,000 (about US$54,000) PGM ADT Penang Championship.

The 21-year-old Japanese compiled a four-day total of 17-under 271 to win by one shot from Malaysian Danny Chia (66) and American Sam Gillis (68) who were tied for second.

American Trevor Simsby and Malaysian Amir Nazrin carded matching 69s to take the fourth and fifth spots respectively at Bukit Jawi Golf Resort.

Sekito entered the final round with a one-shot advantage, but relinquished that lead immediately. “I bogeyed my first hole after I pushed my tee shot to the right and had to chip out from behind the trees. But after that bogey, I was less nervous because I wasn’t the sole leader so I knew I could keep chasing,” said Sekito, who did not drop any further strokes and notched birdies on holes two, seven, 10, 12 and 15.

Sekito took home a cheque for US$9,529.28 and received six Official World Golf Ranking points. “I told myself in January that my goal was to win on the ADT and get into the top-seven on the Order of Merit,” added Sekito, who rose to fifth spot in the standings.

With a new putter in his bag, two-time Asian Tour winner Chia rediscovered his form. He traded two bogeys against eight birdies to enjoy his first top-10 finish since his joint runner-up result on the ADT in July of 2017.

“I’m very happy with how I played this week. It has been a while since I’ve had a top-10 finish. It was an up-and-down round where I had a good run of birdies from holes three to seven but three-putted on hole eight for bogey.

“Overall I am putting well and this week was a confidence boost. I can see the changes since I switched my putter and I am playing more consistent golf.”

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