Kuala Lumpur: Anirban Lahiri went without a birdie in his last 13 holes and ended in tied 10th, leaving him with somewhat mixed feelings at the end of the Maybank Malaysian Open here on Sunday.
Lahiri, the highest ranked Indian on World rankings, carded a final round of 70 and finished at eight-under 280. Meanwhile, former World No. 1 Lee Westwood enhanced his reputation in the East as he marched to a convincing seven-stroke victory for his first title in two years after a flawless four-under-par 68.
The Englishman completed his wire-to-wire win in style when he holed a 20-foot birdie putt on the last for an 18-under-par 270 winning total at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. Aiming other Indians, Shiv Kapur added a 71 to finish at three-under 285 in tied 31st place while SSP Chowrasia dropped two double bogeys on the back nine to end with a card of 76 that saw him drop to two-under 286 and in tied 33rd place.
Rahil Gangjee (76) was tied 45th, Chiragh Kumar (71) was tied 55th and Rashid Khan, who began so well on first two days carded 74 and was tied 68th. EurAsia Cup star Lahiri, a three-time winner in the region, was the best placed Asian in tied 10th place after a closing 70 while Masahiro Kawamura of Japan, who won his first Asian Tour title last year, finished a further shot back.
"I played really good but I?m disappointed I didn?t make any birdies on the back nine. All in all it has been a solid week but I can?t help but feel that I left a lot out there. I?ve been hitting it really good. I hit 16 greens but didn?t make the putts, which I needed to. I gave myself a lot of opportunities but couldn?t hole the birdies," said Lahiri.
"I was a little anxious to do well (at the start of the week). I came in this week feeling good about my game. I really wanted to contend badly. I tried a bit too hard and forced the issue. I didn?t focus on what I needed to do. It got better on the weekend and it is good that I?m playing consistently," Lahiri said.
He added, "I wasn?t monitoring the scoreboards because I was too far out to catch the leader. I personally was trying to get to 12 because I shot a 66 yesterday and I hit the ball like how I did today. The rain came down on the back and that put me off a little bit. I missed two or three fairways and that cost me a bogey."
Major champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa threatened briefly by shooting four birdies in his first seven holes but dropped shots around the turn saw his challenge fizzle as he signed for to a 68, taking joint second place with Austrian Bernd Wiesberger and Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium in the USD 2.75 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
It was Westwood?s 13th win in Asia and it came within a week of him finishing seventh at the Masters Tournament last week. "Yes this win has come at an important time. I?ve started working with a new coach and Billy Foster came back on my bag at the end of last year. I?m going back to what I?ve done before because it works. It is starting to work already," smiled Westwood, who turns 41 next week.
Westwood won USD 458,330 for his 41st career victory. Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open Championship winner, and the winner here in 2012, was in the thick of action before a pair of bogeys on nine and 10 dashed his hopes.
The South African took advantage of a four-hour weather delay to rally his spirits as he fired two straight birdies from the 16th hole to share second.