Australian Marcus Fraser won the inaugural Maybank Championship Malaysia with a closing round of three-under-par 68 as overnight leader Soomin Lee of Korea self-destructed over the last few holes.
Trailing Lee by three shots heading into the final round at Royal Selangor Golf Club, Fraser took full advantage of his young rival’s late collapse to claim a third European Tour victory in the US$3 million event co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour.
The 37-year-old Aussie nailed a clutch 18-foot par save on the last hole to finish on 15-under-par 279, claiming the champion’s cheque of US$500,000 along with the magnificent championship trophy from Royal Selangor Pewter crafted in the shape of a tiger.
Lee, 22, had looked very much in control until a double bogey on 16 following an errant drive allowed Fraser to draw level. Tied heading into the final hole, the Korean missed his long par attempt on the last green before watching Fraser drain his putt.
Lee then failed to convert his return putt for an eventual six and a closing 73 which left him tied for second place with Filipino Miguel Tabuena, who closed with a solid 68.
“Unbelievable. Six years since the last one … My kids keep saying every time I walk out the door ‘hey dad, can you bring home a trophy? And I’ll say I’ll try, I’ll try and this time I’ll take one home and I’ll get them to take it to school for show and tell. It’s going to be pretty cool. That’s the main reason why I wanted to win,” said Fraser, who in his last year as an amateur finished as the top individual in the 2002 Eisenhower Trophy at Saujana Golf & Country Club in Malaysia.
A teary-eyed Lee was disappointed with his late wobble which denied him a maiden victory but preferred to take in the positives.
“This week is very good for my golf life but I’m a little bit disappointed. But it is okay because I have many more tournaments to try and win. I have three top-10s in three events now, so it is okay,” said Lee.
The 21-year-old Tabuena was delighted to finish joint runner-up after struggling with food poisoning in the opening two days. He was only one of six players who birdied the closing hole, which earned him his career best pay day of US$260,565.
Top Malaysian honours went to Nicholas Fung, who closed with a 69 to finish in joint 24th place on six-under-par.
Results (Top 10 and ties):
269 – Marcus FRASER (AUS) 66-69-66-68.
271 – Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 66-68-69-68, Soomin LEE (KOR) 66-68-64-73.
272 – Julien QUESNE (FRA) 70-69-65-68, Jorge CAMPILLO (ESP) 65-69-69-69.
273 – Richard BLAND (ENG) 66-65-73-69, Pablo LARRAZABAL (ESP) 70-69-65-69.
274 – Nathan HOLMAN (AUS) 64-65-73-72.
275 – Peter UIHLEIN (USA) 65-75-69-66, Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 68-72-67-68, Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN) 66-70-67-72.