Mhark Fernando pounced on a crucial three-shot swing on No. 14 to turn back local bet Mohd Iylia Jamil and complete a wire-to-wire triumph in the Malaysian Amateur Open Golf Championship with a closing 72 for a two-stroke victory in Lumut, Perak, Malaysia on Sunday.
Faced with a strong challenge from Malaysia’s national player, the 28-year-old Fernando blew his overnight one-shot lead and trailed by two after 13 holes. But the former national champion fought back with back-to-back birdies from No. 14 to regain the lead en route to the victory on a six-under 282 total.
“I didn’t play so well but I did have a strong finish,” said Fernando, who struggled with his shot selections in a windy
day at the Damai Laut Golf and Country Club.
The top ICTSI-Cangolf bet recovered from a pair of bogeys on Nos. 11 and 13 with a birdie on No. 14, which Iylia double-bogeyed, enabling Fernando to regain the lead before coasting to the win in the closing holes.
Iylia actually turned Fernando’s bogey mishap on the 13th into a two-shot swing as he came through with a birdie on the par-3 hole to gain a two-stroke lead only to yield it back just as quick in the next when he dropped two shots and the Filipino ace gained a stroke.
“The 14th is the key to my win as I hit an awesome second shot and I knew I had it then,” said Fernando.
The victory also completed the Philippines’ sweep of the Malaysian event after Fernando teamed up with reigning national champion Clyde Mondilla in winning the 36-hole team championship.
Iylia birdied the final hole and wound up with a one-over-par 73, settling for second with a 284 while Fernando’s teammate Jhonnel Ababa of Davao City rallied with a one-under 71 to share third place with Thai Supakorn Utaipat,
who carded a 74, at 292.
ICTSI-The Country Club’s Peter Villaber skied to a 77 and dropped to joint fifth with Malaysian Gavin Kyle Green, fumbling with a 76, with 293.
Cebuana Lovelynn Guioguio also blew her title bid in the ladies side of the tournament as the top ICTSI bet, just one stroke behind Sharon Lau and Yupaporn Kawinpakorn at the start of the final round, faltered with an 82
and wound up seventh with 227.
Thidapa Suwannapura shot a 70 to claim the crown, two shots over Yupaporn Kawinpakorn, who limped with a 75, while Dabawenya Chihiro Ikeda ended up joint fourth with Sharon Lau (80) at 224 after a 75.(pr)