Crawford nursed his overnight advantage to secure a hard fought three-stroke victory over Singapore’s Marc Ong at the 112th Malaysian Amateur Open on Sunday.
The 21-year-old Queenslander overcame a hesitant start to return with a two-over 74 at Royal Perak Golf Club to claim his biggest amateur title yet – keeping the trophy in Australian hands after fellow Queenslander Kevin Marques’ triumph last year.
Ong proved resilient in the early exchanges, halving Crawford’s overnight lead to just two at the turn but a costly double bogey six on the 11th took the winds out of his sails as the 18-year-old settled for sole second on three-under 285.
China’s Zihao Chen carded the round of the day with a closing four-under 68 to leap into a share of third alongside another Aussie representative Jarryd Felton on 286.
Muhd Wafiyuddin Abdul Manaf, the top-ranked Malaysian in the field, stumbled down the leaderboard with a disappointing four-over 76, on the back of a card of seven bogeys and three birdies while compatriot Low Khai Jei (73) was a further stroke back in tied sixth alongside halfway co-leader Jake McLeod (72) on 290.
Expressing his delight, Crawford admitted that he had trouble adjusting to the fact that it was his first time leading into a final round of a major amateur championship.
“It was definitely a tough day today and I made some tough work out of it but I got it done at the end and I’m happy that I played well enough this week to win the championship,” shared Crawford.
“I was feeling a little nervous, given that I was still adjusting to the experience of leading throughout the tournament and the exertions of the week were beginning to show as well but I managed to play okay for the rest of the holes.
“I’ve been playing well this year and knew it was just a matter of time before I won but I just had to be patient and I’m delighted to finally win a big one,” noted the Gold Coast native.
Crawford began the final round with a four-shot lead but two bogeys in four opening holes saw Ong start to turn the screw with only two strokes separating the duo through 10 holes. The Singaporean’s costly mistake on the 11th, however, saw the momentum shift back to him.
“Definitely, did not enjoy the best of starts but I was always in front. I thought that Marc’s double [bogey] on the 11th definitely changed the tide in my favour. I felt comfortable from that stage onwards knowing that I just need to par the remaining stretch to stay ahead and it was good enough in the end.”
Leading final round scores (Malaysian unless stated)
282 – Cory Crawford (AUS) 71-71-66-74
285 – Marc Ong (SIN) 72-70-70-73
286 – Zihao Chen (CHN) 72-71-75-68, Jarryd Felton (AUS)72-72-70-72
289 – Muhd Wafiyuddin Abdul Manaf 76-68-69-76
290 – Jake McLeod (AUS) 71-71-76-72, Low Khai Jei 72-71-74-73
291 – Solomon Emilio Rosidin 72-71-75-73
292 – Justin Raphael Quiban (PHI) 75-74-72-71, Gregory Foo (SIN) 75-71-73-73, Danthai Boonma (THA) 73-73-73-73
293 – Chieh Po Lee (TPE) 77-74-72-70, Danial Durisic 76-75-72-70, Johnson Poh (SIN) 71-73-75-74
294 – Ervin Chang 76-73-76-69,
295 – Shinichi Mizuno (HKG) 73-71-77-74
296 – Abdul Hadi (SIN) 79-74-73-70, Maung Maung Oo (MYN) 75-73-74-74, Joeh Seik (KOR) 76-74-71-75
297 – Bryan Teoh Wiyang 76-71-77-73, Yuma Ohno (JPN) 77-72-74-74, Muhd Afif Mohd Razif 74-74-75-75, Chan Tuck Soon 74-73-73-77
299 – Simarjeet Singh (IND) 74-75-77-73, Udayan Mane (IND) 76-7275-76