Kuala Lumpur, February 21: Marcus Fraser gave a short-game masterclass as he carded a closing 68 to win the inaugural Maybank Championship Malaysia in a dramatic finish at Royal Selangor Golf Club.
The Australian was two shots behind Soomin Lee as he stood on the 16th tee, but a double-bogey from the South Korean – coupled with a nearly-holed chip by his playing partner – opened the door for Fraser to win a third European Tour title.
A clutch ten-foot putt on the 17th hole kept the 37 year old in a share of the lead on 15 under par, and when Lee made another double bogey on the last, a par putt from 18 feet was enough to make Fraser the first ever winner of the Tiger Trophy.
That closing blemish proved costly for Lee, who dropped into a share of second place alongside Miguel Tabuena on 13 under par, a shot clear of Spaniard Jorge Campillo and Frenchman Julien Quesne.
Fraser had a seven-year gap between his first win at the 2003 BMW Russian Open and his second at the Ballantine’s Championship, and returns to the winners’ enclosure five years and 302 days after that victory in South Korea.
Marcus Fraser: “It feels unbelievable. Six years since the last one. I’ve had some serious injuries and I’ve had my fair share of chances to win and completely stuffed them up. That’s always at the back of your mind when you come out and playing such a big tournament like the Maybank Championship. It’s in the back of your mind and I went out there and I had nothing to lose. Luckily enough it fell my way.
“On the last, I don’t know how I got that one to go in. That’s a pretty special feeling, that’s for sure. Six years ago it happened. It’s nice. Words just can’t describe the way I feel.
“I’m not 100% sure but hopefully it gets me into some tournament in the United States. For me with two young kids at home, my intentions this year was to play in a lot less tournaments and play more in Europe at the end of the season but I have to reassess that and talk to my wife. My priority at the moment is my two young kids. They have a normal life where they have to go to school. For me to be there to walk them to school is the most important part. Tournament wise, I will still play in a lot less but I’ll have job security in the next couple of years which is always good.”
Soomin Lee: “This week is very good for my golf life but I’m a little bit disappointed. But it is okay because I have many more tournaments to try and win. I have three top tens in three events now so it is okay.
“The last three holes are very important on this course. I was very nervous and felt pressured. I missed some short putts and that’s why I finished second. I still have one more tournament in Perth next week so I hope to play well again.”