Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand won the weather-shortened Maybank Malaysian Open at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club by a single shot from Italy’s Edoardo Molinari.
Aphibarnrat closed with a two-under-par 70 to stay ahead of the chasing pack and claim his first European Tour victory.
“This means a lot to me,” he said. “I have to thank my family for all their support.”
The tournament was heavily affected by thunderstorms and was reduced to 54 holes as a result. Aphibarnrat came into the final day on 11-under-par with 16 holes of his third (and last) round to complete.
The 23-year-old started fast with a birdie at the third (his first of the day,) then an eagle at the fifth. But he stumbled with two bogeys and found himself back in a tie at the top of the leaderboard with Edoardo Molinari, who was safely in the clubhouse.
Aphibarnrat reclaimed the advantage with a birdie at the 14th before the weather turned once more and the players had to come off the course for almost two hours.
The Thai dealt with the break well though and came back out firing, with a birdie at the 16th. A solid par save at the penultimate hole meant the youngster could afford a scrappy bogey at the last and still take the title.
Molinari was happy to secure solo second place but felt he had let a chance slip.
“I’m pleased to have a good week for the first time in a long time,” he said. “But I had a lot of chances on the back nine. The 18th was only the second fairway I missed all day which is very disappointing. I felt if I birdied the last I might have won outright because it puts a lot of pressure on the guy coming up behind.”
Anders Hansen of Denmark posted a, round of the day, 66 to take third place, one ahead of Charl Schwartzel and Victor Dubuisson who tied for fourth.
Padraig Harrington looked like he would threaten for the title after turning in 31. But three dropped shots on the back nine cost the Irishman and he ended the week tied sixth.
Maybank Malaysian Open
Kuala Lumpur G&CC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Mar 21-24, purse €2,130,000 par 72
1 Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 65 68 70 203 €350,410
2 Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 66 71 67 204 €233,604
3 Anders Hansen (Den) 66 73 66 205 €131,615
T4 Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 67 69 70 206 €97,134
T4 Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 67 68 71 206 €97,134
T6 Pablo Larrazabal (Esp) 69 70 68 207 €55,673
T6 Mark Foster (Eng) 69 69 69 207 €55,673
T6 Alex Noren (Swe) 69 68 70 207 €55,673
T6 David Howell (Eng) 69 68 70 207 €55,673
T6 Padraig Harrington (Ire) 69 68 70 207 €55,673
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage