Joost Luiten of the Netherlands fired a superb closing round of 65 to win the rain-shortened Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia by a single shot from overnight leader Daniel Chopra.
Luiten trailed Chopra by four shots coming into round three – the tournament had been reduced to 54 holes owing to multiple interruptions for storms over the first three days.
But the Dutchman came out of the blocks flying. He made three straight birdies from the 2nd then two more at the 8th and 9th to be out in 30. Chopra, on the other hand, struggled to the turn in one-over-par 36 – his four shot lead had turned into a two shot deficit.
The gap was lengthened at the start of the back nine as Chopra made a bogey at the 10th then Luiten recorded another birdie at the 11th. At that stage, Luiten led by four and Chopra was in danger of dropping futher down the leaderboard. But the Swede rallied and, three birdies over his last six holes, made the final result a good deal closer. It also secured his second place finish.
Luiten’s maiden European Tour victory has been predicted for some time and his win this week came on the back of an excellent run of form. He’s finished in the top-15 in eight of his last 14 starts. The win moves Luiten to 18th on the Race to Dubai.
“I have been close a few times this year, and to finally win one and get close to the top 15 is unbelievable. And hopefully I can play well in Dubai and push along a little bit,” he said. “I don’t believe it yet. I think when you’re in position to win you always have some nerves, but I think that’s normal.”
Chopra closed with a 70 to finish one behind Luiten, alone in second place. He was pleased with his week’s work.
“It is a great way to finish the year,” he said. “It has been a long hard working year, and it is nice to have this good finish at the end of the year. It gives you some encouragement for the next year.”
Rhys Davies of Wales produced a fine closing round of 65 to climb the leaderboard and finish in a tie for third with England’s James Morrison and Padraig Harrington of Ireland.
Iskandar Johor Open
Horizon Hills G&CC, Johor, Malaysia
Nov 17-20, purse €1,476,000, par 71
1 Joost Luiten (Ned) 63 70 65 198 €242,581
2 Daniel Chopra (Swe) 64 65 70 199 €161,720
T3 James Morrison (Eng) 66 65 69 200 €75,201
T3 Padraig Harrington (Ire) 64 67 69 200 €75,201
T3 Rhys Davies (Wal) 70 65 65 200 €75,201
6 Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 64 67 70 201 €50,942
7 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 71 64 67 202 €43,665
T8 Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 69 67 67 203 €29,983
T8 Fredrik Andersson Hed (Swe) 68 67 68 203 €29,983
T8 Darren Beck (Aus) 70 65 68 203 €29,983
T8 Marcus Fraser (Aus) 64 70 69 203 €29,983
T8 Jose Manuel Lara (Esp) 67 67 69 203 €29,983
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
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