It will be a battle of generations in the final round of the RM230,000 Tun Ahmad Sarji Trophy at Saujana Golf & Country Club, with rising talent Paul San leading Malaysian legend Danny Chia by just one shot.

San signed in a third round even-par 72 at Saujana’s Bunga Raya Course to top the leaderboard with a 54-hole total of six-under-par 210 (69-69-72). The 26-year-old endured a shaky start with two dropped shots in his first four holes, but recovered with birdies on 8 and 9 and an even-par back nine.

“I started off really poorly but managed to birdie two holes finishing off the front nine, and then my putter just went cold again. It was frustrating but I just tried to keep patient. The golf course will get you if you don’t stay patient,” said San, who won his maiden PGM Tour title at last year’s Northport Championship.

San will be keen to win at Saujana as it is his home club. “Tomorrow I’ll pretty much do the same thing as what I’ve been doing, just keep my head down and keep moving forward,” he said.

Despite struggling with his ball-striking and a bad back, Chia carded a one-under-par 71 to lie just one shot adrift on 211 (70-70-71). The 50-year-old finished second last year and will be hoping to go one better this time around.

“Pretty much the same story, different day. I’m not hitting the ball well at all but my short game and putting were good. Definitely I’ll have to hit better tomorrow to have a chance,” said the two-time Asian Tour winner, who made history at the 2010 British Open when he became the first Malaysian to make the cut in a Major.

In joint third place on one-under-par 215 are veteran campaigners Khor Kheng Hwai (70-75-70) and R Nachimuthu (72-70-73), one shot ahead of young talents Amir Nazrin (71-69-76) and Ervin Chang (76-70-70).

Galven Green, the younger brother of Malaysian No 1 Gavin Green who won this event last year, lies seventh on one-over-par 217 (75-68-74), tied with amateur talent Ryan Fernandez (75-73-69) who signed in a 69 for the men’s low round of the day.

Following an even-par outward nine which included a double bogey, Fernandez nailed three birdies coming back to move up the standings.

“I just hit a lot of fairways and greens and when the putts went in, they went in, so it was a good round. I think I’m in a good positon for tomorrow, so just more of the same, try and keep the ball in play, keep hitting greens and hopefully I’ll do well,” said the 23-year-old Fernandez.

In the concurrent ladies’ event, experienced professional Aretha Pan regained the outright lead with a third round 74 for a 54-hole total of seven-over-par 223 (73-76-74). The 28-year-old is just one shot clear of amateur Charlayne Chong (75-74-75). Pan had led after the first round and was tied at the top with fellow Sabahan Chong at the halfway stage.

“I was struggling a little bit early on today but luckily I managed to birdie two of my last three holes. I’ll stick to the same gameplan tomorrow, try and hit the fairways and greens, and hope the putts will drop,” said Pan, who won twice on the PGM Tour last year.

Chong, who is in her second year of a golf management course at University Utara Malaysia, is hoping her driver works well in the final 18 after struggling off the tees today.

“It was a struggle today as my driver just wasn’t doing its job and the holes are too long for me to pull out my 3- wood. I think I might have a chance, just have to reduce the mistakes and work things out with my driver,” said the 20-year-old.

Globe-trotting pro Ainil Johani Bakar was on fire en route to a three-under-par 69, which vaulted her into third place on nine-over-par 225 (78-78-69) and put her well in contention. Having won twice outside Malaysia in her career including the Finnish Open in 2016, Ainil will be looking to put her experience to full use in the final round.

“My gameplan for this week was just to go out there and have fun, because I haven’t played in a while. Everything worked well today, I only missed two greens and the only bogey I had was a three-putt. I’m just going to focus on me and my own game tomorrow and we’ll see how it works out,” said the 33-year-old.

The final round starts tomorrow at 7.40am with the last flight teeing off at 9.10am. The men are competing for RM200,000 in prize money with RM35,000 going to the winner, while the ladies’ purse is RM30,000 with the champion taking home RM10,000.

The Tun Ahmad Sarji Trophy will be followed by eight more closed tournaments including stops in Sarawak and Sabah. The 2023 season will culminate in the RM350,000 Toyota Championship on November 14-17, which will be a co-sanctioned event with the Asian Development Tour (ADT).

210 (-6) – PAUL SAN 69-69-72
211 (-5) – DANNY CHIA 70-70-71
215 (-1) – KHOR KHENG HWAI 70-75-70, R NACHIMUTHU 72-70-73
216 (E) – AMIR NAZRIN 71-69-76, ERVIN CHANG 76-70-70
217 (+1) – GALVEN GREEN 75-68-74, RYAN FERNANDEZ (A) 75-73-69
218 (+2) – DAENG ABDUL RAHMAN 73-74-71, UMAR KHUSHAIRI 73-72-73

223 (+7) – ARETHA PAN 73-76-74
224 (+8) – CHARLAYNE CHONG (A) 75-74-75
225 (+9) – AINIL JOHANI BAKAR 78-78-69
230 (+14) – JOCELYN CHEE 76-80-74
234 (+18) – DIANNE LUKE 82-70-82

For live scores, click on this link:

To top