Anirban Lahiri finished tied seventh and left Malaysia with a feeling that it should have been way better at the Maybank Malaysian Championships as five Indians achieved a top 20 finish here today.
Rounding off the week with four-under 68, he also got first glimpse of young Shubhankar Sharma from close quarters as they played the final round together.
Shubhankar (69) made up for a difficult first 10 holes at one-over, by playing his last seven in four-under, including three birdies in last three holes. He was tied ninth for his third successive top 10 finish and fourth inside top 11.
As many as five Indians finished in top 20 with Shiv Kapur (70) and Rashid Khan (69) tied for 12th at nine-under, while Gaganjeet Bhullar (72) was tied 20th at eight-under. Chiragh Kumar (71) was T-41st and Jyoti Randhawa (71) was Tied-59th.
The 33-year-old Paraguayan Fabrizio Zanotti (63), starting the day final six shots behind leader, Danny Willett, had a dream finish with birdie and an eagle. He played his last six holes in five-under with three birdies and a 12-foot eagle to get to 19-under and he beat David Lipsky (67) by one shot.
Zanotti, 14-under for the weekend with 67-63, was bogey free for last 40 holes. It also ended a two-year title drought as his only previous win came at 2014 BMW International.
Lipsky, looking a strong contender after four birdies from 10th to 13th to reach 18-under, missed a final 10-foot putt to get into play-off as an anxious Zanotti, sitting in the recorders room, threw his hands up in glee and joy. Bernd Wieseberger (66) was third and Alex Levy (68) fourth with Masters champion Danny Willett (73) fifth with China’s Li Haotong (65).
Lahiri again had a bunch of birdies and missed quite a few others and also dropped three bogeys for a card of 68.
Shubhankar is now on a fine streak with T-11 in Singapore, T-9 in Myanmar and T-4 in Dhaka and now T-9 in Malaysia.
Lahiri said, “I am happy that I had 24 birdies but disappointed that I gave away 10 shots, including a double bogey. I am driving well, hitting the irons better than before, after having my coach Vijay DIvecha here this week. But, my putting was inconsistent.”
He added, “There are some areas to address, especially the short misses, but I will keep working. The positives include 24 birdies, and also I am feeling fit as a fiddle after four rounds in this weather. Usually in Malaysia on Sunday, you feel you need a stretcher.”
Lahiri was also impressed by Shubhankar as the two played together today.
“He was impressive the way he handled himself after being in trouble early on. To finish like that with three birdies in last three shows character and talent.”
Shubhankar said, “I am very happy about the whole week. Of course, one will always feel that a few could have been saved or a few more birdies made, but overall it was great. I have watched and admired Anirban from when I was an amateur and now to be playing in a final round with him was great.”
Shubhankar, the first reserve for next week’s event in Perth, added, “I am making a lot of birdies but now it is time to drop fewer shots.”
Coming on the back of three missed cuts in Middle East, Zanotti said, “I think it (63) was probably the best round of my career,” said Zanotti.
“I think it was at the 15th (birdie) where I thought I might be able to win, when I made birdie there. I thought, maybe I’ll have a chance if I make two more birdies, but I made a birdie and an eagle so it was great.”
Wiesberger, whose second round 63 put him in contention, but had a horrendous third round 73 finished with 66 for sole third, ahead of Alex Levy (68). Willett (73) was the only player in Top-25 to shoot over par and ended in a tie for fifth with China’s Li Haotong (65).
Leading Indian finishers
274: Anirban Lahiri (69-68-69-68) T-7;
276: Shubhankar (68-68-71-69) T-9;
279: Shiv Kapur (70-67-72-70) T-12
279: Rashid Khan (72-68-70-69) T-12
280: Gaganjeet Bhullar (66-72-70-72) T-20
284: Chiragh Kumar (70-72-71-71) T-41
288: Jyoti Randhawa (73-69-75-71) T-59.