Malaysian number one Gavin Green hung on to claim a one-shot victory over his predecessor Danny Chia in the PGM Tun Ahmad Sarji Trophy at Saujana Golf & Country Club.

Gavin Green posing with his winner's trophies

Starting the day with a four-shot lead over Chia in what was essentially a two-horse race, Green survived a nervy finish at Saujana’s Bunga Raya Course. The 28-year-old carded a closing 71 for a four-day total of 13-under-par, while veteran Chia closed with 68 to fall one short of forcing a playoff.

It was an exciting final day as Chia, who turns 50 this November, got off to a hot start with three birdies in his first five holes to narrow the gap to one shot. However, Green stretched the lead back to four at the turn with birdies on 7, 8 and 9.

After a topsy-turvy start to the back nine, with two holes left it looked like Green was cruising to the title with a three-shot advantage. However, he overshot the green at the par-three 17th and had to take a penalty drop for an unplayable lie, from where he wound up with double bogey.

Danny Chia narrowly misses a birdie putt on the 17th hole

Needing a birdie at the par-four closing hole to force a playoff, Chia found a greenside bunker with his approach and did well to save par in the end. Green meanwhile made a regulation four to seal the win, which was his fifth on the local circuit. Green pocketed a cheque for RM35,000 from the RM200,000 total purse.

“It was such a roller-coaster round because it’s been so long since I’ve been in the position. There were so many things going on in my mind because all my equipment is brand new. To be able to win under pressure and to trust the clubs is a huge plus for me. After the struggles last year, it’s good to win again, especially on home soil,” said Green, who heads to Nairobi tomorrow to resume his DP World Tour campaign in the Magical Kenya Open.

“It’s definitely a big boost heading into my next event. It’s so difficult to win from the front and to be able to hit shots under pressure, as well being able to control my mind, was a big plus,” added Green, noting that it was fun playing with Chia.

Chia concurred that the two of them enjoyed playing together.

Gavin Green and Danny Chia chat during the last round

“We’ve known each other for quite some time, from his junior days, and we had fun this week getting to play together four days in a row,” said the veteran campaigner, who plans to play in the Japan Senior Tour qualifying at the end of the year.

“I’m quite happy with the way I played this week, and I’m happy for Gavin as well that he won.”

First round leader Shahriffuddin Ariffin carded a final round 69 to share third place on six-under-par with Kenneth De Silva who shot 70. Khor Kheng Hwai was sole fifth on three-under-par after a closing 71, one shot ahead of Kemarol Baharin (70).

Zia Izzuddeen shot 70 to take top amateur honours in T7 place on one-under-par with professional Danial Faidz.

Gavin Green with VIPs during the prizegiving

Final Scores (Top 10 and ties)
275 (-13) - GAVIN GREEN 68-67-69-71
276 (-12) - DANNY CHIA 65-69-74-68
282 (-6) – SHAHRIFFUDDIN ARIFFIN 63-76-73-69, KENNETH DE SILVA 72-70-70-70
285 (-3) - KHOR KHENG HWAI 69-72-73-71
286 (-2) - KEMAROL BAHARIN 73-72-71-70
287 (-1) - ZIA IZZUDDEEN (A) 70-76-71-70, DANIAL FAIDZ 74-72-67-74
289 (+1) - PAUL SAN 75-73-72-69
290 (+2) - DAENG ABDUL RAHMAN 75-73-71-71