Shahrifuddin finishes career-best joint second on Asian Tour

KUALA LUMPUR: It's indeed a case of "better late than never" for Malaysian golfer Shahrifuddin Ariffin, who achieved a career-best tied runner-up finish at the Taifong Open, the penultimate leg of the Asian Tour season.

The 24-year-old Shahrifuddin closed with a three-under 69 at the Taifong Golf Club in Changhua on Sunday to share second place with Thailand's Atiruj Winaicharoenchai at 15-under 273.

The pair finished four shots behind winner, Suteepat Prateeptienchai of Thailand.

This brilliant feat saw Shahrifuddin earn US$34,600 (RM161,700) — his career's biggest paycheck.

He also gained 155 points, pushing him to No. 60 on the Tour Order of Merit, a significant improvement of 31 spots from where he started the week.

With a season tally of 347.54 points, he broke into the top-65 bracket required to keep his Tour card for 2024.

"It's a big relief. The top five was my target so I am really happy to have done better than that. When he (Suteepat) made those five birdies in a row, I knew we were playing for second. Just need to play well in Saudi," said Shahriffuddin.

Shahriffuddin is competing in his first full season on the Asian Tour after gaining a promotion from the second-tier Asian Development Tour (ADT) last year, where he finished fifth overall.

However, he found it tough to compete against the region's elites, missing the cut in nine out of the 17 tournaments he entered.

His best finish prior was joint 10th at The DGC Open in India in March..

Ben Leong was the other Malaysian in action in Taiwan, finishing tied-19th on eight-under 280.He's currently placed 63rd with 328.97 points.

Shahriffuddin and Ben will be seeking to end the season on a high at the Saudi Open from Dec 14-17 to ensure Malaysia continues to be well represented on the region's premier tour.

Compatriot Ervin Chang had sealed his qualification through the ADT by virtue of being in the top 10 Order of Merit finishers.

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