India’s Anirban Lahiri reeled off four birdies in his first five holes and held on down the stretch for a one-stroke victory over Bernd Wiesberger to take his first European Tour title by winning the Malaysian Open yesterday.
Lahiri had vaulted into contention the day before with a tournament-low 10-under 62, and followed up with a final-round 68 for the win.
“I don’t think it has sunk in just yet, but I’m pretty sure when it does, I’ll be pretty happy,” the 27-year-old said.
“I’ve got a bad habit of making it hard for myself, but I’m happy I managed to get it over the line,” he said.
The Malaysian Open is cosanctioned by the European and Asian Tours, and the win was Lahiri’s sixth on the Asian circuit.
Lahiri began the day five strokes adrift of third-round leader Wiesberger, who had shot to the top of the boards on Saturday with a European Tour personal-best 9-under-par 63 at the tricky Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
However, on the par-5 fifth hole yesterday, Wiesberger chunked his third shot into a water hazard on his way to a double-bogey, which opened the door for Lahiri.
The Indian charged through with his early birdie blitz and despite a couple of later bogeys, he fended off the faltering Wiesberger, who suffered three bogeys on the back nine to card a 2-over 74 for the day.
“It hasn’t quite finished the way I intended to,” Wiesberger said.
“After the hiccup on five, I didn’t hit it anywhere near as good as the last 15 rounds. It’s tough to say, but it is what it is and unfortunately I beat myself out of it today,” he said.
England’s Paul Waring and second-round coleader Alejandro Canizares of Spain finished two strokes behind Wiesberger in a tie for third on a breezy yet scorching day.
England’s Lee Westwood had held the colead after each of the first two days and remained in the hunt when the final round started, but his chances of defending the title he won last year crumbled as he posted a disappointing 75 to end in a four-way tie for fifth, five strokes behind Lahiri.
Taiwan’s Hung Chien-yao took home 10,027 euros (US$11,345) in prize money after finishing in a share of 52nd with a four-round total of 290, while Lu Wei-chih (293) won 6,201 euros, finishing in a share of 64th.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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