Kuala Lumpur, October 28: Nick Watney caught fire in the searing heat as he closed with a spectacular 61 to win the CIMB Classic by one shot over defending champion Bo Van Pelt and Robert Garrigus.
Watney, 31, finished the US$6.1 million tournament with an impressive total of 22-under-par to pick up the winner’s cheque of US$1.3 million. The American nailed 11 birdies but dropped a shot at the par four 18th to make things interesting as compatriot Van Pelt, playing in the final flight, could have caught him with a closing birdie.
But Van Pelt blocked his drive past the treeline at the closing hole and sent his second shot into a greenside bunker, only managing a par for a final round 66. He settled for joint second place on 21-under-par with the long-hitting Garrigus, who birdied the last two holes for a closing 66.
Watney needed a birdie at the last hole to card that magical 59, but got unlucky as his ball wound up plugged in thick rough on the left. He took a free drop but the ball settled in a divot, from where he hit his approach about 30 yards short of the green. Watney failed to get up and down but the closing bogey proved good enough for the five-time PGA Tour winner to seal a memorable victory in his maiden appearance in the event and in Malaysia.
“I was more concerned about winning the tournament. I really wanted to finish strong but the ball went into a divot in the rough when I dropped it, so the 59 kind of went out the window right there,” said Watney, who finished fourth in this year’s final FedEx Cup standings.
“There were quite a few players in front of me so I wasn’t really thinking about winning when I teed off. But the round sort of built momentum and things just kept getting better and better. I’m thrilled to have come away with the win.”
World No. 2 Tiger Woods closed strongly with a 63, climbing up the leaderboard into a share of fourth place on 19-under-par with fellow American Chris Kirk and burly South African Brendon de Jonge.
India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar finishes as the top Asian in joint 10th spot on 15-under-par after a final round 67. “It’s been a great week for me. All four days I played with PGA Tour pros and it’s a very good opportunity for me to learn this week. The experience will certainly help in my coming years.”
After two disappointing rounds on the second and third days, Danny Chia salvaged some pride with a solid closing 67 to finish the tournament in 43rd place on three-under-par.
“What is done is done, at least I held my head high,” said the Malaysian No. 1. “It was more about pride today. I wanted to finish under-par to prove I’m worthy of playing this week.”
The other Malaysian in the field, Shaaban Hussin, struggled with a shoulder injury and finished on one-over-par in 47th spot after a closing 68 – his best round of the tournament.
Results (Top 10 and ties)
-22 Nick WATNEY 71-65-65-61
-21 Robert GARRIGUS 64-64-69-66, Bo VAN PELT 70-65-62-66
-19 Tiger WOODS 66-67-69-63, Brendon de JONGE 68-65-66-66, Chris KIRK 69-66-63-67
-18 Carl PETTERSSON 69-67-68-62
-17 Jbe’ KRUGER 66-64-69-68
-16 Pat PEREZ 67-68-68-65
-15 Scott PIERCY 75-68-64-62, Gaganjeet BHULLAR 65-72-65-67, Kevin NA 67-66-69-67, Brian HARMAN 64-70-66-69