The Malaysian Reserve

Hard fought win in historic Melaka

The Malaysian team secures a win in the 3rd PGM and Indonesia Golf Tour (IGT) matchplay tournament

By SHIV DAS

A TOUCH of history was added to Melaka, an entity with a fascinating past, when the third edition of the annual battle of the professional golf tours of Malaysia and Indonesia was played out at the Tiara Melaka Golf and Country Resort.

Held over three days, it was the Malaysians who triumphed to go one-up in the series, having won the inaugural encounter in 2016 and the Indonesians, the second, a year later.

This time around, the rivalry was red-hot, marking the Indonesians as playing catch-up rapidly.

The first day’s foursomes and fourball- best-ball matches saw the scores tied 4-4, after the Malaysians led 3-1 in the morning foursomes session, but surrendered it by the same margin to the Indonesians in the afternoon’s four-ball.

The second day’s play, same formats, saw a ding-dong battle with the Malaysians taking a slim 9-7 lead going into the final day’s 12 singles matches (unlike the partnerships in the first two days).

On paper, the Malaysians were stronger and which was borne out in the first encounter in 2016, but came the second in Indonesia, the relatively greenhorn Indonesians upset the form books by routing their more fancied counterparts.

Home turf and a two-point lead going into the final day, seemed to favour the Malaysians this time but only just. In the end, the slim margin helped secure the Malaysian win when the two teams halved the singles matches (6-6).

But, a win is still a win. For the Indonesians, the “so near and yet so far” feeling should still be encouragement. For them, this thought: Malaysians, watch out next year!

All told, the Ryder Cup (US versus Europe) style encounter is all for the good of the game, players and relations between two close neighbours.

The Indonesians clearly showed that they are coming through in an exacting sport that’s making great strides in the region. What’s more, this time, the team had four leading amateurs, who showed their steely side and provided a point (one win) for their team.

The four will represent Indonesia at the Asian Games, Palembang, on Aug 18 till Sept 2.

There was plenty to be said for the event being held in Melaka and Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) chairman and patron of the larger Asian Tour, Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid, did that at the welcoming dinner at Mudzaffar Hotel, with the guest-of-honour being no less than the governor of Melaka, Tun Dr Mohd Khalil Yaakub.

Ahmad Sarji, once a long serving president of the country’s Heritage Malaysia Trust, was in his element when he trotted out two pantuns in welcoming the governor and his entourage, drawing hoots and claps from the gathered golfers, officials and guests.

One verse spoke of Mohd Khalil’s “countless generous deeds, as boundless as the sea and as soaring as the mountain”. Another spoke “of arriving in Melaka without a pantun was like eating rice without ulam or herbs”.

He then went on to say Mohd Khalil was a keen golfer playing to a single handicap in his prime and one who had promoted the game with the setting up of the Melaka Golf Gallery in 2012 and at which he had stated: “There are many facets to the fascination that the game of golf holds for millions of people throughout the world.

“A golf gallery’s role is as protector of golf heritage. Items in the gallery will evoke mixed emotions of nostalgia, surprise and enlightenment.

They will recall half forgotten souvenirs and serve to correct memories grown hazy through the passage of time.

Ahmad Sarji also highlighted the role PGM was playing in promoting golf, Since 2011, PGM tournaments are being held in all states, including Melaka.

Players stand to gain world ranking points, if they come within the top six standings in Asian Development Tour tournaments that are being held alongside closed events. As a result there are 12 Malaysians among the top 2,000 golfers in the world. Gavin Kyle Green is ranked highest at 210 currently.

Down the line, there are Nicholas Fung (568), Ben Leong (608), Danny Chia (792), R Nachimuthu (1,133), Arie Ahmad Irawan (1,194), Kemarol Baharin (1,270), Shariffuddin Ariffin (1,392), Ervin Chang (amateur -1,435), Amir Nazrin Jailani (1,637), Sukree Othman (1,876) and Mohammad Wafiyuddin Abdul Manaf (1,877).

There are 174 players with the PGM Tour card and, among them, 11 players from Melaka led by Shariffuddin, who had emerged as the PGM Order of Merit winner last year. It had opened the door for him to play on the Asian Tour.

Ahmad Sarji hoped that the state government would lend a helping hand to the player to further his golfing career.

Among those present at the dinner were Chief Minister Adly Zahari, state executive councillor Kerk Chee Yee and state secretary Datuk Roslan Ibrahim.