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Terry Pilkadaris wins Brunei Open by five shots

Australian Terry Pilkadaris underlined his growing stature on the Asian Tour with an emphatic five-stroke victory in the inaugural Brunei Open on Sunday, a perfect gift ahead of his honeymoon next week.

The 31-year-old Pilkadaris carded an accomplished four-under-par 67 at the Empire Hotel and Country Club for a 19-under-par 265 winning total. It was his third career victory in eight months and it came with a cheque of US$47,250.

Compatriot Jarrod Lyle birdied his last hole for a 71 to finish runner-up for the second time in a month while Canadian Rick Gibson and Matt Keegan of Australia shared third place on 271 after signing off with 66 and 67 respectively.

Malaysia 's Danny Chia, the leader of the first two rounds, threatened Pilkadaris briefly on the front nine by getting to within two shots off the lead but eventually carded a 71 to settle for fifth position.

"I'm ecstatic . I made some swing changes in the last two weeks and it was good that the new swing held up under pressure," said Pilkadaris, whose victory moved him up to fourth place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit with US$155,811.

With his wife Monique as caddie, Pilkadaris produced another solid display as he increased his overnight one-shot lead to seven strokes after 12 holes. He birdied the third, fourth, sixth, 10th and 12th holes before suffering a hiccup with consecutive bogeys on the 13th and 14.

However, the Aussie, winner of the Crowne Plaza Open and Sanya Open in China last year, steadied his nerves and finished with a flourish. He nailed a five iron to two feet of the pin on 18 for a closing birdie, watched by a large gallery that was witnessing Brunei 's first ever professional golf tournament.

"I was aggressive with the wedges. I hit a good putt on the second hole and it horse-shoed out from five feet and it made me angry. I then hit it to a foot on four and birdied five and got the momentum going.

"I'll leave for my honeymoon tonight and this will help pay for part of that. But it's all worth it," said Pilkadaris, who got married last September but delayed his honeymoon due to his busy playing schedule. He will take his wife to the Alaskan coast, New York and Paris .

The 23-year-old Lyle, who overcame leukemia six years ago, rolled in a 15-foot birdie at his last to reinforce his growing reputation as one of Australia 's rising stars. He endured a topsy turvy day but finished strongly with three birdies and a bogey over his last four holes.

"It was good to birdie the last and finish second on my own. I hit one of the best bunker shots in my life to set up the birdie putt and when I saw Danny's putt go in, I thought the cup was as big as a bucket.

"I hit it well all day but holed nothing out there. You can't contend with the likes of Terry when you're doing things like that. Terry played sensational golf and he kept making birdies and kept getting further away.

"It's been great. I've played in only six events and have got two seconds already. I think I'll crack one sooner or later," said the burly Lyle, who was tied second in the Macau Open last month.

Gibson charged up the leaderboard with a superb run of five birdies over his opening six holes before cooling off while Keegan, playing in his rookie season in Asia , earned his first cheque of the year, although a bogey on 18 cost him a share of second place with Lyle.

Chia, the leader in the first two days, threatened briefly with three straight birdies from the second hole but a three putt bogey on the sixth, which Pilkadaris birdied, halted his momentum. After a bogey on 10 and a double bogey on 13, the British Open-bound Chia finally holed a 25-footer for birdie at the last hole to finish fifth on 272, seven shots behind the winner.

"I made a couple of mental mistakes. I misread a short birdie attempt on nine and after missing that, I let it bother me and dropped some shots. I didn't capitalize on the good shots out there but it was nice to birdie the last hole with a long putt for fifth place on my own, which was worth a bit of money.

"This is a good confidence booster ahead of the British Open next month," said Chia, whose finish was his second top-10 of the season.

The Brunei Open, the 15th leg of this season's Asian Tour, is the closing event of the first half of the season. The Tour will resume in September for the staging of 14 more events.

Leading final round scores

265 - Terry Pilkadaris (AUS) 67-63-68-67

270 - Jarrod Lyle (AUS) 67-63-69-71

271 - Rick Gibson (CAN) 69-67-69-66, Matt Keegan (AUS) 71-66-67-67

272 - Danny Chia (MAS) 63-66-72-71

273 - Lin Wen-tang (TPE) 71-68-66-68

275 - Ahmad Bateman (CAN) 70-69-68-68, Scott Barr (AUS) 73-68-66-68, Amandeep Johl ( IND ) 67-70-68-70

276 - Robin Hodgetts (AUS) 69-69-69-69, Adam Le Vesconte (AUS) 68-68-70-70, Lu Wen-teh (TPE) 68-69-68-71

277 - Anthony Kang ( USA ) 69-71-69-68, Andrew Pitts ( USA ) 69-67-72-69, Gary Simpson (AUS) 70-68-68-71

278 - Frankie Minoza (PHI) 67-74-72-65, Ross Bain (SCO) 67-70-73-68, Gaurav Ghei (IND) 67-71-71-69, Lin Chie-hsiang (TPE) 67-68-70-73

279 - Mahal Darren Pearce (NZL) 70-69-71-69, Jerome Delariarte (PHI) 70-69-71-69, Prom Meesawat (THA) 68-66-74-71, Firoz Ali (IND) 69-71-67-72, Rashid Ismail (MAS) 70-65-70-74

280 - Atthaphon Prathummanee (THA) 70-69-71-70, Sung Mao-chang (TPE) 67-70-72-71, Marcus Both (AUS) 71-70-68-71, Somkiat Srisanga (THA) 67-69-72-72, Adam Fraser (AUS) 71-64-72-73

 

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