Zanotti wins Maybank Championship 2017

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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on February 13, 2017.


PETALING JAYA: Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti produced a fabulous come-from-behind victory at the Maybank Championship yesterday, thanks to a glorious final-hole eagle for a closing round of nine-under-par 63.

Starting the final day six shots back of leader Danny Willett of England, the 33-year-old Zanotti won the US$3 million (RM13.32 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 (3.66m) for eagle on the par-five last hole following an imperious iron shot approach from 249 yards (228m) 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.

Lipsky, 28, had a chance to force a play-off but his birdie attempt on 18 from about 15 feet missed the target as he settled for second place with a closing 67, which included four consecutive birdies after the turn.

Wiesberger took third position following a 66, followed by Levy who carded a 68 to finish three behind the surprise champion. Masters Tournament winner Willett struggled all day, shooting a disappointing 73 to finish tied fifth with China’s Li Haotong, who closed with a 65, to emerge as Asia’s top performer.