Friday, 19 March 2010
Maybank Malaysian Open - Round Four  (Getty Images)
Maybank Malaysian Open - Round Four (Getty Images)

Anthony Kang of the United States ended an eight year victory drought by rolling home a short birdie putt at the final hole to emerge from a tightly bunched field for a one stroke victory at the Maybank Malaysian Open.

The 36 year old began the final round two shots behind overnight leader Adam Blyth of Australia but closed with a five under par 67 at Saujana Golf and Country Club’s Palm Course to win the US$ 2million event, which is co-sanctioned by The European Tour and the Asian Tour.

The American finished with a 17 under par 271 total for the biggest win of his career and first on the Asian Tour since the 2001 Myanmar Open. The victory was Kang’s first on The European Tour.

“It feels wonderful,” said the American. “I’ve been playing in Malaysia since 1996 or 1997 so to finally win this event, I’m speechless. This feels like where I started to play golf so to win this tournament is just beyond beautiful.”

With his late birdie, Kang avoided a possible five way play-off with the English duo of David Horsey (64) and Miles Tunnicliff (68), Jyoti Randhawa of India (66) and Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng (68), who finished tied for second on 16 under.

Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin had nine birdies but bogeyed his final hole for a six under 66 as he finished alone in sixth on 15 under.

Louis Oosthuizen improved his position in the top ten in The Race to Dubai after closing with a 65 to join Liang Wen-chong of China (71) and Alexander Noren of Sweden (71) in a share of seventh place.

World Number 11 Anthony Kim of the United States, the highest ranked player in the field finished in a tie for 33rd on seven under after closing with a five under par 67.

Kang moved up the leaderboard early on with three birdies on the front nine and was two shots in front of the field on 17 under after further birdies on the 11th and 13th.

But the Asian Tour regular dropped a stroke on the 15th after putting his approach shot into the pond fronting the green. It was the only blemish on the final 54 holes for Kang, who was 12 strokes off the lead after shooting a two over 74 in the opening round.

“The last three rounds is probably the best golf I’ve played so far. I think I made only one bogey which was on the 15th hole,” he said.

“After I hit it into the water there, I dropped it in the drop zone and just told myself to try to just finish it off with a bogey and regardless of what happened I told myself that I was playing great golf and had nothing to put my hand down about.

“Fortunately I hit a good shot in there, made a bogey and was still in the lead.”

Kang moved up the leaderboard early on with three birdies on the front nine and was two shots in front of the field on 17 under after further birdies on the 11th and 13th.

But the pressure appeared to get to the Asian Tour regular as the field closed in and he dropped a stroke on the 15th after putting his approach shot into the pond fronting the green.

He parred the next two holes to arrive at the par five 18th in a tie for the lead with Horsey, Randhawa and Marksaeng but gave himself a chance to secure the outright win by reaching the green in two.

His eagle putt from nearly 70 feet came up just short but after Marksaeng missed his birdie attempt, the American was able to tap in to secure the victory.

Horsey’s magnificent final round 64 included a back nine 29, and the 23 year old Challenge Tour graduate was pleased with his best finish on The European Tour to date.

He said: “I am pleased - I would have certainly taken that score at the start of the day but then there is a little bit of disappointment not to win having gone so close. I am very pleased with how I have applied myself.

“I managed to birdie the last three holes so I couldn't have done much more. I have just tried to put myself up there which I have sort of done so far, especially this week I have got up there and given myself a great chance and if I keep doing that I will get there.”

Compatriot Tunnicliff is still seeking a first European Tour title since the 2004 Diageo Championship, but was delighted with his best finish since 2005.

“I was a little nervous at the start of the day to be honest, but I felt great coming down the stretch. I birdied three of the last four which was great to do in the circumstances,” he said.

“It is a great kick start to the new year for me and I can go to Perth next week with a lot of confidence.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KANG, AnthonyUSA18-17
T2MARKSAENG, PrayadTHA18-16
T2RANDHAWA, JyotiIND18-16
T2TUNNICLIFF, MilesENG18-16
T2HORSEY, DavidENG18-16
6MAYBIN, GarethNIR18-15
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