India’s Anirban Lahiri claimed his maiden European Tour title with a nail-biting one-shot victory over Austrian Bernd Wiesberger in the Maybank Malaysian Open.
The 27-year-old Indian star closed with a 68 for a total of 16-under-par 272 at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club’s West Course, overhauling overnight leader Weisberger who carded a nervy 74.
Starting the final round five back of the lead after a stunning third round 62, Lahiri got off to a blazing start with four birdies in his first five holes. Wiesberger meanwhile looked set to run away with the title when he birdied the first two holes, but a double bogey at the par-five 5th when he sent his third shot into the water proved to be pivotal.
Lahiri made a spectacular birdie from off the green at the par-four 17th to take the lead and then saved par from four feet after finding a greenside bunker at the closing hole. Wiseberger dropped a shot at 17 and needed a final hole birdie to force a playoff but left his putt short.
Lahiri’s sixth career Asian Tour victory earned him a handsome US$500,000 and is likely to propel him into the world’s top-40, putting him in prime position to qualify for the Masters in April and also the International Team for the Presidents Cup later this year.
“This is very special. This is the sixth time I’ve won and it is my first on the European Tour. I think that’s what makes it more special,” said Lahiri.
“The other thing that sets this win apart is that I finally won a big event. The first three events were US$300,000 events in India. They gave me a lot of joy and confidence. Without those wins, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wanted to win an event which is big, not just in prize money but in terms of the field. I played with Lee Westwood and unfortunately he had a bad day. You are playing in the field with Major winners and you beat them. That is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.”
England’s Paul Waring and Spain’s Alejandro Canizares shared third place on 13-under-par, while defending champion Lee Westwood of England settled for joint fifth two shots further back.
Amateur Gavin Green and veteran professional Danny Chia finished as the leading Malaysians in joint 25th place on four-under-par, after closing with 69 and 74 respectively.
Results (top 10 and ties)
272 – Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 70-72-62-68.
273 – Bernd WIESBERGER (AUT) 70-66-63-74.
275 – Paul WARING (ENG) 69-68-65-73, Alejandro CANIZARES (ESP) 68-65-68-74.
277 – Gregory BOURDY (FRA) 70-70-68-69, Richard T. LEE (CAN) 69-69-68-71, Paul PETERSON (USA) 72-69-64-72, Lee WESTWOOD (ENG) 66-67-69-75.
278 – Marc WARREN (SCO) 70-71-69-68.
279 – S.S.P. CHAWRASIA (IND) 76-67-68-68.