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 Sports

Fung: This is for dad

190617_queens-colour
FUNG … took home US$90,000 and slid up to 13th place on the Order of Merit with US$122,007. – AFPphoto

19th June, 2017

BANGKOK: Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung clinched his first Asian Tour title at the Queen’s Cup in Thailand on Sunday with a solid putt on the 18th hole that sealed his one-shot victory.

The triumph marked a career breakthrough for Fung, who had failed to achieve a top-10 finish in the previous eight tournaments this season.

The slightly-built Fung paid tribute to his father, En Ping, who was with him on the holiday isle on what was also Father’s Day on Sunday around the world.

“It’s the best day to win as its Father’s Day. It’s the best gift I can give to my dad (Fung En Ping). This first win means a lot as I’ve been playing on the Asian Tour Tour for four or five years. I’ve always tried to win and finished second a few times.”

The 27-year-old Sabahan carded a steady 66-68-68-67 during the US$500,000 tournament on the southern Thai island of Samui, where conditions were often blustery.

Fung, who started the final round one shot ahead, briefly fell out of the lead after bogeying his second hole.

But he overcame nerves to land five birdies and the final four-foot putt, sealing his spot at the top of the leaderboard.

On Fung’s heels was local rookie and rising star Jazz Janewattananond, who took second place with two bogey-free final rounds, coming in one stroke behind at 270.

It was the 21-year-old’s second best finish of the year after winning his own maiden Asian Tour title at the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open.

“It’s a new life for me now as at last I’ve achieved a win,” Fung said in comments supplied by the tour organisers.

Fung took home US$90,000 from the tournament and slid up to 13th place on the Order of Merit with US$122,007.

“I started even par on the front nine but managed to shoot four under on the back nine and managed to get a win. It was very exciting. It’s my first win and I’ve been waiting for this for quite some time. I’m very happy.

“To shoot 15 under is really good as it’s a difficult golf course. I’m always happy to come to Samui to play the Queen’s Cup as I love the golf course so much,” he added.

“When I birdied 10 and 11, I didn’t look at the scoreboard and didn’t know that I was in the lead. At 16, I chipped in for birdie and then I heard fans shouting on the 17th green which I kind of guessed that Jazz (Janewattananond) was making a birdie too.

When I got to the 17th tee, I saw he had moved up to 14 under and I told myself that if I don’t birdie 17, I still have a chance to birdie 18 which is a par five for the win.”

“But we said let’s get a birdie on 17 which would make it easier for me to play the last hole which I managed to do. Hit it really close approach shot to about two feet on 17 (to keep his one shot lead). Then on 18, I was a bit nervous off the tee. Told myself that missing right was better than missing on the left which had water hazards.

“I hit a bad drive to the right but luckily I managed to chip it out to my favourite distance for the third shot. I was a bit aggressive with my fourth and I was quite confident with the four footer coming back for par as I’ve been putting well throughout the week.

“It’s a special gift for my father. I won an ADT event in Malaysia which was on my mum’s birthday and this week, winning on Father’s Day is important. He’s taught me a lot since I was young,” he stressed.

“He brought me to the golf course, taught me how to be a better golfer and how to be a confident person to face the future. I just followed his advice and thanks to him, he guided me all the way until today to win this tournament. I’m sure he’s very happy. We did it on the right day.”

   
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