SHAH ALAM: Golfer Danny Chia just gets better with age.
The 50-year-old man proved he remains one of the best professional golfers in Malaysia by winning the Toyota Tour's season-opening Tun Ahmad Sarji Trophy at the Saujana Golf and Country Club here today.
Teeing off the deciding day in second spot and one shot adrift of penultimate stage leader Paul San, Danny carded a final round two-under 70 after mixing four birdies with two bogeys. He finished with a four-day total of seven-under 281.
Danny won by four shots from Paul and Vietnam Southeast Asian Games doubles gold medallist Ervin Chang, who shared the second spot.
While Ervin sparkled with an eagle on the opening hole en route to a solid 69, Paul fumbled when it mattered most to sign for a 75 with six bogeys conceded.
Seasoned campaigners Khor Kheng Hwai (71) and R. Nachimuthu (72) came in fourth on 286 and fifth on 287, respectively.
For Danny, it was his 11th career title on the tour and his first in five years. His last win came at the 2018 PGM Johor Championship.
He made amends for last year's near-miss when he finished runner-up to Gavin Green.
Gavin did not defend his title as he is competing in the Kenya Open on the DP World Tour (European Tour).
The other big names missing from this week's event include Nicholas Fung, who boasts the tour's most-win record with 18 titles, Ben Leong and Shahriffuddin Ariffin. The trio are playing in the Asian Tour's International Series Thailand.
Despite that, Danny's victory was still impressive.
"I'm just trying to be the best I can be. At this stage of my career, it's pleasing to know that I can still play good golf," said Danny, who pocketed a cool RM35,000 winner's cheque.
Danny added that he was riding high after finishing runner-up in the Thailand Senior Tour three weeks ago.
"At the start of this year, I was just aiming to win a senior tour event and I nearly did it in Thailand. It was still a confidence booster as I shot a 62 in the final round," he said.
"But I certainly didn't expect to beat my younger competitors to the title this week.
"I'm still very motivated to play golf at the highest level. I was trying to get a card on the Japan Senior Tour but I failed last year. I'm going to give it another go later this year."
Danny still holds the distinction of being the only Malaysian golfer to have won twice on the Asian Tour.
He captured the Taiwan Open in 2002 and the Taiwan Masters in 2015.
Leading final round scores:
281: Danny Chia 70-70-71-70;
285: Ervin Chang 76-70-70-69, Paul San 69-69-72-75
286: Khor Kheng Hwai 70-75-70-71;
287: Nachimuthu Ramasamy 72-70-73-72;
290: Umar Khusairi Muhd Kamal 73-72-73-72, Amir Nazrin Jailani 71-69-76-74;
291: Daeng Abdul Rahman 73-74-71-73;
292: Daniel Faidz Jazmi 77-71-73-72;
294: Rizal Amin 74-73-74-73.
294: Aretha Pan 73-76-74-71;
299: Jocelyn Chee 76-80-74-69;
303: Charlayne Chong (a) 75-74-75-79;
304: Ainil Johani Bakar 78-78-69-79;
310: Dianne Luke 82-70-82-76.