Tuesday 26 September 2017

Superb Zanotti finish seals win as Willett wilts on final day

Fabrizio Zanotti claimed the Maybank Championship Stock photo: Getty
Fabrizio Zanotti claimed the Maybank Championship Stock photo: Getty

Phil Casey

Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti produced a sensational finish to win the Maybank Championship as Danny Willett missed out on a first victory since last year's Masters.

Zanotti, whose previous European Tour title came in 2014, eagled the 18th in a flawless closing 63 at Saujana Country Club to finish 19-under par, a shot ahead of American David Lipsky.

Austria's Bernd Wiesberger, who was part of a three-way tie for the lead after a birdie on the 17th, finished third on 17-under, with France's Alexander Levy another shot back.

Cork's Niall Turner finished well down the field after a four-over par round of 76, while Paul Dunne failed to make the weekend.

Willett took a three-shot lead into the final round but could only manage a closing 73 to finish in a tie for fifth with China's Li Haotong, who carded seven birdies in an error-free 65. Zanotti began the day six shots off the lead and, despite five birdies in his first 13 holes, was still three behind Lipsky with four holes to play.

Missed

However, the 33-year-old - who had missed the cut in all three of his previous events in 2017 - then birdied the 15th and 17th before hitting a superb three-iron approach into the last and holing from 10 feet.

Lipsky, who had followed four birdies in a row from the 10th with a bogey on the 14th, needed to birdie the final two holes to force a play-off and although he picked up a shot on the 17th, he was unable to get up and down from a greenside bunker on the last.

"I think it was probably the best round of my career," Zanotti said. "It was a really good day, a really good week and I'm really happy. To shoot nine-under on the last day to win a tournament is incredible. I have been working a lot with my coach and with my team and I've been making some changes."

Willett's overnight lead was wiped out in the space of nine holes, the world number 15 playing the first eight holes in one-under par before making a bogey on the ninth after his tee shot finished behind a tree.

"Not what I worked for that today," Willett wrote on Twitter. "Shows signs of improvement still."

On the US PGA Tour Jordan Spieth won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on 19-under par after a final round of two-under par 70, while Shane Lowry was reflecting on a solid weekend's work.

The Offaly man finished inside the top 20, his final round of two-under-par 70 giving him a seven-under final total.

There were encouraging signs too for Waterford's Seamus Power who also made the cut at the celebrity event and finished on four-under after a closing 71 which left him safely inside the top 40.

Pádraig Harrington missed the three-round cut on three-over par.

Irish Independent

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