Jakarta, Indonesia: Anirban Lahiri won his fourth Asian Tour title and first outside India with a spectacular eagle putt on the last hole to win the US$750,000 CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters.
The 26-year-old Indian, who is getting married next month, survived a gamut of emotions on the final day before breaking away from the chasing pack to seal victory with a four-under-par 68 at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club.
Korean Baek Seuk-hyun enjoyed a stroke of fortune despite carrying an elbow injury when he finished second alongside Australian rookie Cameron Smith after signing off with a 65.
Reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand claimed a fourth-place finish in the fourth edition of the event.
Arwin Rasyid, President Director of CIMB Niaga said: “This year’s event has been another huge success and we are very happy to conclude on such a high note.”
Starting the day trailing Smith by a single shot, Lahiri fired three successive birdies starting from the second hole. He stumbled with a bogey-five on the fifth but recovered with another birdie on 12.
However, a double-bogey six on 13 after a three-hour rain delay saw the Indian ride out a tense finish as a host of marquee players from the Asian Tour were wrestling for the lead then.
“I had an awkward lie on 13. During the rain delay I was just thinking that I have to get up and down there. I got a bad break there but I knew Lin Wen-tang dropped a shot as well. Unfortunately I got a double-bogey but I am glad I came back strong,” said Lahiri.
With Baek holding the clubhouse lead at 16-under, Lahiri knew he had to produce a superlative effort on 18 to get the outright win.
“My mind was blank when I prepared for the last putt on 18. All I told myself was I had to get it into the hole. When I was walking up to the greens, I was actually thinking if I need to prepare for a play-off tomorrow morning,” said Lahiri.
Lahiri did not disappoint and screamed in delight when he watched his 20-foot putt sink into the hole for a winning total of 17-under-par 271.
“It’s really great to get my first win outside India. I have missed out on it for a long time. I need the world ranking points so I am really happy I can win this week,” said Lahiri.
Although Baek missed out on a grandstand finish, the Korean took pride in his battling performance which saw him pipped to his maiden title. “I actually thought of withdrawing before the start of the first round. On the first day, I told my caddie if I can par the first hole, I will continue to play. I managed to do that and I moved on with my game.
“On the second day, I thought I should just try and make the cut. I have no confidence at all. Until today, I didn’t expect to do so well. My elbow got better so I just tried to focus on my game,” said Baek.
Despite ending two shots behind Lahiri, Kiradech was pleased with his performance. “With my current ball striking, I think I can win a tournament on the Asian Tour soon! It has been a year since I last won. I’m confident it will come soon, maybe next week! I just have to continue the way I am striking the ball,” said Kiradech.