Feb 12, 2017: Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti produced a fabulous come-from-behind victory at the Maybank Championship on Sunday, thanks to a glorious final hole eagle for a closing round of nine-under-par 63. India’s Anirban Lahiri and Shubhankar Sharma positioned with in top 10 at T7 and T9 respectively.
Starting the final day six shots back of leader Danny Willett of England, the 33-year-old Zanotti won the US$3 million co-sanctioned tournament by one shot ahead of 2014 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner David Lipsky following a thrilling conclusion at the Saujana Golf and Country Club.
No fewer than five players, including Lipsky, Willett, Bernd Wiesberger and Alexander Levy, held at least a share of the lead during a frenetic final round before Zanotti, whose other triumph on the European Tour was the 2014 BMW International Open, broke away with a terrific finish where he birdied the 17th hole to grab the lead for the first time.
He then rolled in a 12-footer for eagle on the par five last hole following an imperious iron shot approach from 249 yards out that saw his ball land in the middle of the green, roll towards the back before trickling down towards the pin. He signed off the week on 19-under-par 269 and earned US$500,000.
Anirban Lahiri scored 6 birdies with 2 bogeys in the final round to finish with a total of 14-under-par 274 and tied at T7 sharing with Lorenzo Vera of France.
“It was good, another solid day without getting on a roll. A bit disappointed. I started off exactly the way I wanted to but lost a bit of momentum around seven, eight and nine. And then I didn’t birdie the two easy par fives and bogeyed 14. I kind of let the round get away from me. I fought back hard but I missed a couple of short putts on 16 and 17. I know I shot four under which shows how well I’m playing but I didn’t kick into the next gear and go low. I felt I had a good chance of contending but didn’t get myself into the position I wanted to.
There’s lots of positives. I’ve been playing well, making a lot of birdies. The putting has been good more than less. I missed a couple but made a couple on the front nine as well. Lots of positives. The consistency seems to be there. But again, I need to cut down on the dropped shots. You shoot 14 under after dropping 10 shots, that’s something that needs to be addressed.
It was fantastic playing with Shubhankar. I’ve watched him going through the ranks over the last few years with flying colours. I still remembered three years ago that Shubhankar and his father would come out and used to walk with me whenever I played in the Indian Open. He wasn’t a pro then, he was this emerging amateur and he would walk around. We have close family ties, his sister was delivered by my father. So we’ve known each other for a while. To see him play as consistently and as tenaciously, today was an example of that. Today, he didn’t get off to a good start but he came back strong. It’s really good sign for Indian golf to see him and Chikkaranggapa S. coming up. I don’t think I’m the old generation yet, I’ve yet to hit 30, but to see the next generation coming up and playing well is just fantastic”, said Anirban.
Shubhankar Sharma also scored a decent 12-under-par 276 to tie at T9 sharing with Panuphol of Thailand. He carded 6 birdies with one bogey and a double to finish with three-under-par 69 in he final round.
“I’m making a lot of birdies which is the best part. I’m dropping a lot of shots but I’m telling myself and backing myself that I can make birdies. Although I was over par today, I was happy to finish under par. I didn’t see the scores and I didn’t know where I was standing. I was back down the leaderboard and I just told my caddie that if we could finish with three straight birdies, it would be a good tournament. Managed to make a great birdie on 16 and then went on to birdie 17 and 18 as well. I couldn’t have asked for a better finish.
Now that I’ve played well in the first four events, I think I should now be in the top-10 of the Order of Merit. It’s definitely a motivating factor to finish as high as I can on the Order of Merit.
I played for the first time in a competition with Anirban so that was great. Even though I dropped a few shots, he kept telling me to keep playing the way I am. It’s great to play with someone who’s a great inspiration to a lot of us. It was a great way to finish my tournament.
I need to drop fewer shots. I made a few mental errors. Today on 10, I hit a bad second shot from the middle of the fairway and made double bogey which you can’t really do. That’s one thing I have to work on. Other than that, I’m in a good mental frame of mind”, said Shubhankar.
Rashid and Shiv scored similar nine-under-par 279 and tied at T12 sharing with a bunch of another 6 players. Where as Gaganjeet Bhullar lost 8 spots in the leaderboard by scoring eight-under-par 280 total and finished at T20.
Asian Tour Release