Joost Luiten of the Netherlands fired a superb closing round of 65 to win the rain-shortened Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia by a single shot from overnight leader Daniel Chopra.
Luiten trailed Chopra by four shots coming into round three - the tournament had been reduced to 54 holes owing to multiple interruptions for storms over the first three days.
But the Dutchman came out of the blocks flying. He made three straight birdies from the 2nd then two more at the 8th and 9th to be out in 30. Chopra, on the other hand, struggled to the turn in one-over-par 36 - his four shot lead had turned into a two shot deficit.
The gap was lengthened at the start of the back nine as Chopra made a bogey at the 10th then Luiten recorded another birdie at the 11th. At that stage, Luiten led by four and Chopra was in danger of dropping futher down the leaderboard. But the Swede rallied and, three birdies over his last six holes, made the final result a good deal closer. It also secured his second place finish.
Luiten's maiden European Tour victory has been predicted for some time and his win this week came on the back of an excellent run of form. He's finished in the top-15 in eight of his last 14 starts. The win moves Luiten to 18th on the Race to Dubai.
"I have been close a few times this year, and to finally win one and get close to the top 15 is unbelievable. And hopefully I can play well in Dubai and push along a little bit," he said. "I don't believe it yet. I think when you're in position to win you always have some nerves, but I think that's normal."
Chopra closed with a 70 to finish one behind Luiten, alone in second place. He was pleased with his week's work.
"It is a great way to finish the year," he said. "It has been a long hard working year, and it is nice to have this good finish at the end of the year. It gives you some encouragement for the next year." Rhys Davies of Wales produced a fine closing round of 65 to climb the leaderboard and finish in a tie for third with England's James Morrison and Padraig Harrington of Ireland. Iskandar Johor Open Horizon Hills G&CC, Johor, Malaysia Nov 17-20, purse €1,476,000, par 71 1 Joost Luiten (Ned) 63 70 65 198 €242,581 2 Daniel Chopra (Swe) 64 65 70 199 €161,720 T3 James Morrison (Eng) 66 65 69 200 €75,201 T3 Padraig Harrington (Ire) 64 67 69 200 €75,201 T3 Rhys Davies (Wal) 70 65 65 200 €75,201 6 Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 64 67 70 201 €50,942 7 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 71 64 67 202 €43,665 T8 Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 69 67 67 203 €29,983 T8 Fredrik Andersson Hed (Swe) 68 67 68 203 €29,983 T8 Darren Beck (Aus) 70 65 68 203 €29,983 T8 Marcus Fraser (Aus) 64 70 69 203 €29,983 T8 Jose Manuel Lara (Esp) 67 67 69 203 €29,983
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage Where next? Presidents Cup - USA victorious
Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?
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