Syakir wins maiden Pusat Ehsan golf title

Fadhil Yunus

Brunei Darussalam’s golfer Awangku Muhd Syakir bin Pengiran Haji Alli defeated national teammate Mohd Aritz Maldini bin Haji Abdul Majid in a dramatic play-off to emerge the champion of the 20th Pusat Ehsan Charity Golf Tournament at the Pantai Mentiri Golf Club in Kampong Mentiri yesterday.

The national duo completed the final round with a two-under-par 70 after Awangku Muhd Syakir posted an even par on the 18th hole of the back nine.

Awangku Muhd Syakir missed the chance to win it outright with a birdie on the final hole before settling for the play-off by saving par.

The national golfer then held his nerve with a stunning shot off the green for a birdie in the par-five 18th hole to win the coveted Patron’s Challenge Trophy.

“It was nerve-wrecking but at the same time I was very excited because I have never been in a play-off,” Awangku Muhd Syakir told the Bulletin.

Minister of Defence II Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof presents the Patron’s Challenge Trophy to Awangku Muhd Syakir bin Pengiran Haji Alli. PHOTO: FADHIL YUNUS

“Usually, I would win it by way of stroke. This one was more intense and exciting especially with my comrade (Mohd Aritz Maldini),” he added.

Awangku Muhd Syakir added his first Pusat Ehsan title to his haul of major domestic trophies having tasted silverware in the Pantai Mentiri Amateur Open two years ago.

The newly crowned winner suffered a setback when he bogeyed the fifth and sixth holes in the front nine, but responded with a birdie and saved two pars.

“I had a bogey at Hole 5 and Hole 6, which was a blunder for me because it should have been an easy par. But, I was just too cautious with my score and keeping track with my putting stroke,” Awangku Muhd Syakir said.

On his performance in the qualifying round, he said, “I wasn’t too aggressive at the start of play. I didn’t attack any of the holes which are most likely to have birdies.”

He played conservatively and stayed patient in his attempt to seal a spot in the top 12. With the finalists in the gross category starting the final round with a clean record, he said, “I was playing safe and I was just trying to get into the final.”

Mohd Aritz Maldini claimed the runners-up spot while defending champion Suhaimi Ibrahim finished third with a total of two-over-par 74.

Mohd Hariz bin Hasim and Ahmad Yani rounded the top five winners.

Minister of Defence II Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof presented the prizes.

A total of 228 participants participated in the tournament across three days and five sessions.