THT captain Fitri Saari (front) in action against Maybank during the TNB Cup Semi-Final first-leg match at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium. THT won 6-1.
ALL THE BEST -- FINAL DESTINATION
TERENGGANU Hockey Team (THT) have no plans to pull the brakes in the Second Leg Semi-finals of the TNB Cup today, even though they have a five-goal cushion over Maybank.
And Sapura coach Yahya Atan feels his players' desire to play in the final will be the key to beat Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) again in the return leg to solidify their two-goal cushion.
Both the return legs will be played at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium, where THT hammered Maybank 6-1 and Sapura beat KLHC 3-1 on Wednesday.
"A five-goal cushion can be overcome in modern hockey, but we are not about to let it happen. Even though the final is just a day's break after the Second Leg, I will field my best players to stabilise the match before deciding on my reserves," said THT coach Sarjit Singh.
THT, double champions for the last two seasons, has won the League title and are looking good to defend their TNB Cup as well.
As for Sapura: "My players showed more desire than the opponents in the First Leg and even though we hold a slim lead, I believe it will be the same performance from them in the Second Leg to cement our spot.
"It has been too long since we last won the TNB Cup (2006 last Overall title) and are just two steps away. It will not be easy, but not an impossible dream either," said Yahya.
KLHC have been bogged down by injuries, and the fact that two of their top players could only play for 30 minutes this season, saw them struggle with a skeleton crew.
Razie Rahim, the nation's top penalty corner flicker, and national midfielder Nabil Fiqri joined inspector training and the team suffered badly.
When asked about his heavy-footed players in the First Leg, KLHC coach Harun Rashid said fatigue and injuries and work commitments left him with a thin squad on the bench.
"Fatigue is always an issue with a 'thin' squad and a packed schedule playing midweek as well (Alagendra Cup)..
"Umar Bhutta (Pakistan import) didn't play the first leg due to foot injury, Syamim Yusof and Kevin Lim carry hamstring injuries.
"Nam Hyun Woo carries a back injury, while Rashid Baharom's shoulder is injured.
"However, as long as we have the time and opportunity, a come-back is always possible in a two-leg race. It's not how one starts, the finishing is more important," reasoned Rashid.
TODAY: TNB Cup semi-finals Second Leg: Kuala Lumpur HC (1) v Saura HC (3) (KLHA, 6pm), Maybank (1) v Terengganu HT (6) (KLHA, 8pm).
President's Cup: Semi-finals Second Leg: SSTMI (3) v UiTM-KPT (4) (Tun Razak, 6pm), Politeknik (2) v TNB Thunderbolts (3) (Tun Razak, 8pm).
Vivian Soars Cup: Semi-finals Second Leg: ATM Pernama (0) v Blue Warriors (1) (Ministry of Education, 6pm), PKS-Uniten-KPT (0) v SSTMI (2) (Ministry of Education, 8pm).
Thursday, September 22, 2016
GAVIN Green booked a spot in the CIMB Classic after defeating title holder Ben Leong with a birdie on the first play-off hole at the SapuraKencana National Classic at the TPC Kuala Lumpur West Course Thursday.
The duo closed on matching one-under-par 71s to finish regulation play on four-under-par 212 before returning to the 18th hole where Green emerged victorious to earn his debut at the CIMB Classic On Oct 20-23 at the TPC Kuala Lumpur (formerly known as Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club) carrying a total purse of US7 million.
The CIMB Classic, now in its seventh year, will feature a 78-player elite field, comprising 60 from the PGA TOUR, 10 from the Asian Tour and eight sponsor’s exemptions.
For the first time ever, the SapuraKencana National Classic will also count towards the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour’s Order of Merit, which is the leading professional tour in Malaysia.
Ben Leong settled for second after missing a close range birdie on the 54th hole while Khor Kheng Hwai finished a further shot back in third place following a final round 72.
Green got off to a fine start when he holed three birdies in his opening 10 holes but slipped back with bogeys on holes 13, 15 and 16. He trailed the fast charging Ben Leong by one heading into the penultimate hole but pulled off a gutsy 15-foot birdie to draw level.
The 22-year-old Green was delighted to add another feather in his cap after a stunning season where won two titles on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) and represented Malaysia in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro last month.
“I was a bit nervous coming down the stretch but the birdie on 17 was huge,” said the big-hitting Green. “The whole week I missed so many putts so I’m thankful I made that birdie on that hole and in the play-off.”
“Honestly, I’m surprised that Ben missed the birdie on the last. I guess even professionals get nervous. After he missed, I told myself that I have another chance in the play-off and I did my best to win it.”
“Playing in the CIMB Classic will be a huge achievement for me this year. It has been a good year so far and this will be another positive in my career. I can’t wait to play in my first PGA TOUR event on home soil,” said Green, who won RM22,000.
Ben Leong hit a super chip into the par-five 18th hole in regulation play but was disappointed to miss the short birdie putt for the outright victory.
“Obviously I was nervous. I read it left but pulled it. I’m disappointed but this is all part of the process. Good for Gavin, he was cool and composed under pressure and played good golf today,” said Leong.
Ahmad Zakiruddin, the Senior Vice President of Operations SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad said: "“We are happy to see that yet another SapuraKencana National Classic, for the fourth year running, has ended successfully and would like to congratulate Gavin Green who has shown tremendous skill to win and claim the coveted spot at the CIMB Classic."