Petaling Jaya, Malaysia: Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti scored a fabulous come-from-behind victory at the US$3 million Maybank Championship, thanks to a glorious final-hole eagle for a closing round of nine-under-par 63.
Starting the final day six shots behind pace-setting Danny Willett, the 33-year-old Zanotti won the 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, a Golf Course Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
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.
He birdied the 17th hole to grab the lead for the first time and then rolled in a 12-footer for eagle on the par-five 18th following an imperious iron approach from 249 yards. His ball landed in the middle of the green, rolled towards the back before trickling down towards the pin. He signed off the week on 19-under-par 269 and earned US$500,000.
“It was probably the best round of my career. It was a really good day, a really good week and I’m really happy,” said Zanotti, who was bogey-free in his last 40 holes at Saujana’s Palm Course, nicknamed the Cobra.
“It feels really good to be a winner again. I’ve been working a lot and I was not in my best run of form, missing three cuts in a row. But that’s in the past and today I’m a winner again.”
Lipsky had a chance to force a play-off but his birdie attempt on 18 from about 15 feet missed the target. 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 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.