Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia: Trevor Simsby claimed his maiden Asian Tour title on the second play-off hole against Andrew Dodt at the weather-shortened US$1 million Bandar Malaysia Open.
The lanky 27-year-old American, who earned his 2020 Asian Tour card after a commendable season on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) last year, opted for an aggressive style of play in his three trips down the 18th hole, which paid off for him at Kota Permai Golf and Country Club, a Golf Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
Simsby, who hails from Carlsbad, California and is a graduate from the University of Washington where he played alongside PGA Tour champion CT Pan of Chinese Taipei, was thrilled to secure victory in only his 12th start on the Asian Tour and first this season at the Malaysian showpiece.
“This is the biggest win I have had in my career. It’s just amazing where I am right now. We were just hoping to get a full round of golf today. Knowing this is going to be the final round, we were just giving it our all,” said Simsby, who came through the 2019 Qualifying School and plied his trade on both the Asian Tour and the ADT last season.
He went for the green on the par-five, 565-yard hole but found himself in the right rough in regulation play. He hit his third shot to the green and two-putted for par to sign for a closing two-under-par 70 and a 13-under 203 total.
Simsby, who played in the second last group, endured an agonising wait in the clubhouse before countryman Jarin Todd and Australian Dodt matched his efforts by carding rounds of 70 and 72 respectively.
The trio returned to the 18th hole for the sudden-death play-off. Todd bowed out after missing a 15-foot birdie putt while Dodt, who led the first two rounds, made his from eight feet, and Simsby converted from three feet after hitting his lob-wedge from a tough angle.
Simsby and Dodt went back to the 18th tee for the second play-off hole and Simsby found the fairway again after opting to tee-off with his driver instead of his three-wood, which he used on the first extra hole. His aggressive play proved rewarding as his second shot landed just short of the green.
Dodt hit his tee shot into the left rough and had to lay up with an iron to the middle of the fairway before hitting his approach to 15 feet, leaving himself a tough putt for birdie. Simsby, on the other hand, chipped up to four feet and triumphed after Dodt missed his putt.
“It’s been a challenging week. I’m just ecstatic to win. Walking off the 15th green, my caddie told me that we’re still in it. He was saying it all day but I didn’t really think so until I birdied 16th,” added Simsby, who finished 84th on the 2019 Asian Tour Order of Merit to miss out on his playing rights for 2020. However, a seventh-place finish on last year’s ADT Merit rankings saw him regain his Asian Tour card.
Simsby will take home a winner’s prize purse of US$180,000 and move to second place on the latest Order of Merit, while Australian Wade Ormsby extended his lead following a top-10 finish at the national Open of Malaysia.
Sanctioned by the Asian Tour in partnership with the Japan Golf Tour Organisation, the Bandar Malaysia Open was reduced to 54 holes following several weather delays which saw more than 10 hours of play lost throughout the week.