SERI KEMBANGAN, SELANGOR, Malaysia -- Shaaban Hussin won the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia National Qualifier at The MINES Resort & Golf Club Sept. 14, romping to a five-stroke victory over Mohd Hanafiah, S. Svachandran and R. Nachimuthu.
The defending champion, who was tied for the lead after the first round and took the outright lead through 36 holes, sealed the triumph with a 2-under-par 69 Wednesday and a 10-under 203 total.
Hanafiah won the tie by virtue of a coin toss between the three players and will step up to play at the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic if a reserve is required or if Shaaban qualifies through the Asian Tour order of merit. A second playing slot for Malaysia will be filled by the highest ranked played in the Official World Golf Ranking as of Sept. 21.
Nicholas Fung was fifth, at 3-under 210, while M. Sasidaran was next best, with a 212.
Hussin had a two-birdie, no-bogey round, with his first birdie coming on the sixth hole. He finished with a flourish by making birdie on the final hole of the tournament.
"I played according to my game plan and it worked out just right," said Hussin. "I came into the third round thinking that if my closest rivals made a move up the leaderboard, then I would have to go on the offensive and attack the pins more. However, I maintained my lead and therefore just had to place the ball in the center of the greens, which is exactly what I did.
"The birdies at Nos. 6 and 18," he continued, "ensured that I did not come under any great pressure and with pars the rest of the way. I am more than happy with the way it turned out."
Hanafiah said he was pleased with his 4-under-par 67 that took him from fifth into the tie for second. He did lament though that his first-day, 1-over 72 did him no favors.
Sivachandran said his putting let him down.
"I gave myself a few chances at birdie over the three days, which I did not convert. In the end it proved the difference between finishing first and joint second," said Sivachandran.
The three-day event, jointly organized by CIMB Group, The MINES Resort & Golf Club and the Professional Golf Association of Malaysia, attracted a field of just under 90 local professionals.
"The CIMB Asia Pacific Classic Malaysia has been a great avenue to leverage the local golfing scene, and I'm sure this year's tournament in October will be even greater than its debut in 2010," said Mohd Firuz Jaffril, president of the PGA of Malaysia. "It's great to see more and more of our representatives being part of a world-class tournament such as this."
This season's CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia will feature a field of 48, with 30 players drawn from the final FedExCup standings, along with major championship winners Stewart Cink and Angel Cabrera, and defending champion Ben Crane.
The top top-10 players on the Asian Tour will also be eligible for the RM6.1 million tournament in Kuala Lumpur, whose winner will collect US$1.3 million, making it the biggest winner's prize purse in Southeast Asia.