Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid presents the PGM Order of Merit 2017 champion to Shahriffuddin Ariffin after officiating the PGM Tour Yearbook 2017 in Kuala Lumpur on March 19. Bernama pic.

KUALA LUMPUR: After emerging as the Professional Golf Malaysia’s (PGM) Order of Merit champion, young national golfer Shahriffuddin Ariffin is now targeting a top 5 placing for the Asian Development Tour’s (ADT) Order of Merit this season.

The 18-year-old golfer has emerged as the youngest to win the title, and he said that a good position in the ADT is vital in getting more opportunities to play in Asian Tour championships.

Shahriffuddin who turned professional when he was 15-years-old back in 2015, also wants to try his luck for a qualifying slot to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, even though he admits that it will be very tough to do so.

Such a mission or task is anything but easy because there is a quota of two players given to each country that does not have players in the top 15 of the world rankings, and last year’s Asian Tour’s Order of Merit champion, Gavin Kyle Green who is ranked World No 171, will definitely be the first or main choice.

Apart from Gavin, Shahriffuddin will also have to contend with the aspirations of other Malaysian golfers such as Nicholas Fung, Ben Leong and Arie Irawan in his mission to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

“I know it is anything but easy, but I am determined and will step up in training and be more focused in the championships and tournaments that I take part in from now on… as in order to improve on my performance I will also have to take into account the weather and the conditions of the golf course for each and every championship that I play in.

“For this year, I am aiming to win at least three PGM championships and place in the top 5 of the ADT for more opportunities to feature on the Asian Tour,” he said.

Shahriffuddin emerged as the 2017 PGM Tour’s Order of Merit champion after amassing RM137,962 from 9 top 10 spots out of 19 PGM championships that he took part in, RM17,180 more than closest rival R. Nachimuthu who took the runner-up spot.

He took his first PGM title when he triumphed at the Melaka PGM Championship last August.

Shahriffuddin began this season by taking second place at the Johor PGM championship, at the end of last month, but at the Port Dickson PGM Championship last week he only managed a 27th place finish.--BERNAMA

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