HANOI: Golfer Ervin Chang created history when he became the first-ever Malaysian to lift the SEA Games men’s individual title at the Heron Lake Golf Course & Resort today.

The 24-year-old clinched the gold medal when he edged Amadeus Susanto Christian (70-71-68) of Indonesia in a three-hole playoff after both golfers were tied at seven-under 209 in the final round.

Ervin, who plans to turn pro this year, recovered from a slow start of one-over 73 on the first day to card a five-under 67 and three-under 69 in the next two rounds,. Thailand’s Weerawish Narkprachar, who had rounds of 68- 72-70 for a six-under 210 total, settled for the bronze medal.

“Thank you for the support from (everyone in) Malaysia and also here in Vietnam. I was looking to win outright but had to win it via the playoff, but I am very happy and proud to win the gold medal for Malaysia after 21 years,” he said.

Previously, Malaysia’s best achievement in the individual event was the silver medal won by Airil Rizman and Gavin Green in the 2001 and 2013 editions respectively.

The last time Malaysia won a gold medal in SEA Games was in the 2001 KL edition through the men’s team of Airil Rizman Zahari, S. Sivachandhran, Shaaban Hussin and Sahal Saedin.

As for the other Malaysians in the field of 35 golfers here, Marcus Lim Pan Chuen (75-73-72) and A. Nateeshvar (74-70-76) finished joint 13th with a four-over 220 total, while K. Rhaasrikanesh (75-77-74) ended up in 20th spot with a 10-over 226.

Meanwhile, Jeneath Wong (71-71-69) delivered a bronze in the women’s individual event with a five-under 211 total, a massive nine strokes behind gold medallist Natthakritta Vongtaveelap (67-67-68) of Thailand. Singapore’s Aloysa Margiela Atienza Mabutas (74-70-65) took home the silver with a seven-under 209 total.

Mirabel Ting Ern Hui (79-69-70) carded a two-over 218 total to finish seventh while Ng Jing Xuen (84-76-75) had a 19-over 235 total to end up in 15th place.

The golfers will continue their campaign in the team events from tomorrow. - Bernama