Port Dickson, October 17: Thailand’s Natthapong Niyomchon fended off a spirited challenge from
Kenneth De Silva of Malaysia to win the PGM-ASEAN PGA PD Championship on Saturday.
The 26-year-old Natthapong fired a bogey-free 68 for a four-round total of 15-under 269, a stroke
ahead of De Silva who sizzled to nine-under 62 in a quite extraordinary final round.
Filipino Michael Bibat, bronze medallist at the 2006 Asian Games before turning professional, drew level with Natthapong after shooting four straight birdies from the sixth hole but could not sustain his challenge and finished alone in third place, four strokes adrift of the winner.
Overnight leader Natthapong, whose best finish on the ASEAN PGA Tour this season was fourth in the PGM-ASEAN PGA UMW Impian in April, was a picture of consistency at Port Dickson Golf & Country Club.
He reeled off 10 straight pars before a birdie at the 11th put daylight between him and Bibat who had closed the two-shot overnight gap with an outward nine of two-under 33, which included two bogeys and then four birdies on the trot.
Bibat bogeyed the 11th and parred the remaining holes for a closing 70.
Natthapong still had 24-year-old De Silva to worry about though, the former PGM Tour winner carding 10 birdies and a single bogey in one of the most accomplished rounds of his career.
Playing in the second last group, De Silva set the clubhouse target of 14-under 270 and Natthapong was up to the task, shooting birdies at the 14th and 16th holes for his first ASEAN PGA Tour win.
The winner’s cheque of US$7,286 saw him jump from 15th to fourth on the ASEAN PGA Tour Order of Merit.