India’s Anirban Lahiri claimed his first European Tour title after an enthralling tussle with Bernd Wiesberger to win the Maybank Malaysian Open by one shot.
Lahiri shot a fantastic 62 in the third round and built on that with a four-under-par 68 to finish the tournament on 16 under, just clear of Wiesberger (74) who had led by five shots at one point on the last day.
The 27-year-old Indian, who just three months ago came through Qualifying School, said on Sky Sports: “I don’t think it’s sunk in just yet, but I’m pretty sure when it hits home it’s going to be a really happy moment for me.”
Despite his 10-under-par 62 on Saturday, Lahiri came into the fourth round still trailing leader Wiesberger by five shots but a run of four birdies in his opening five holes saw the Indian turn up the heat on his title rivals.
Lahiri was unable to keep up that pace on the back nine but a fantastic 40-foot birdie putt from off the green on the 17th put him into the lead for the first time, and after Wiesberger left a birdie attempt short on 18 that would have brought about a play-off, Lahiri was able to celebrate.
“I think I’ve got a bad habit of making it hard for myself but happy I got over the line, as ugly as it was, towards the end,” said Lahiri, who admitted it was his third round that was the key to his success.
“That (the 62) was now in hindsight one of the most important rounds so far in my career and it’s fantastic when you play well at the right time.”
While Lahiri lifted his first piece of European Tour silverware, the in-form Wiesberger was left to wonder what might have been at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
The Austrian, who recently moved into the top 50 of the world rankings for the first time, led by two shots from Spaniard Alejandro Canizares overnight and extended his advantage to five after birdies on the opening two holes.
However, a double-bogey seven after finding water on the fifth was a costly setback, and further bogeys on the par-four 12th, 14th and 17th allowed Lahiri to leapfrog him.
Wiesberger still had a chance to force a play-off with a 20-foot birdie putt on the last, but he left it short.
He said on europeantour.com: “It hasn’t quite finished the way I intended to. 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.”
England’s Paul Waring and Canizares shared third place on 13 under following respective final rounds of 73 and 74.
Former world number one and defending champion Lee Westwood (75) was two shots further back, tying with Gregory Bourdy (69), Richard Lee (71) and Paul Peterson (72) on 11 under.