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Golf: Westwood wins again at Thailand Golf Championship

Lee Westwood came from behind to win the Thailand Golf Championship for a second time. Photo: Asian Tour.

Lee Westwood shot a closing 67 to win the Thailand Golf Championship for a second time. Photo: Asian Tour.

December 14, 2014: Lee Westwood claimed a unique Thailand Golf Championship double when he completed a fabulous fightback with a five-under-par 67 to win the US$1 million Asian Tour event on Sunday.

 

The former World No. 1 won the tournament’s inaugural edition in 2011 and made it another victory to remember by signing off with a four-day total of eight-under-par 280 at Amata Spring Country Club.

 

US Open champion Martin Kaymer (68), another former No. 1, and overnight leader Marcus Fraser (70) of Australia had their chances to force extra-time with Westwood, but fell just short on the 72nd hole and settled for a share of second on 281 total.

 

Westwood was delighted with his second Thailand Golf Championship win, as the World No. 43 had to overcome intense pressure to lift the prestigious title.

 

“When I won the Thailand Golf Championship in 2011, I had a pretty big lead,” Westwood said. “But this win is obviously very special as it was a very tight day out there. I didn’t get off to the best of starts and I had lots of work to do.”

 

Starting the round two shots back of Fraser, Westwood seemed to have fallen out of the equation when he opened with two successive bogeys. However, the 41-year-old Englishman showed his mettle with a stunning comeback, as he fired four straight birdies starting from the par-four sixth hole. Westwood continued his amazing birdie blitz by marking his card with more red numbers on holes 11, 14 and 15.

 

“My caddie Billy [Foster] told me there were opportunities to pick some shots up in the middle of the round after I made those two bogeys. I did that and didn’t drop any more shots and gave myself lots of chances,” Westwood said.

 

“This is my last event of the year and it’s nice to finish with a win and go into Christmas and start the new year with confidence. I know what I’ve got to work on and I’ll be doing that over the next six weeks before the season starts again.”

 

Fraser was left to rue another missed opportunity of a grandstand finish. The Australian started off promisingly with birdies on four, six and seven. He dropped a shot on nine, but responded well with birdies on 10 and 11. However, a bogey-five on 12 followed by another costly bogey putt made under pressure on the closing hole resigned Fraser to tied-second place.

 

“I gave a good fight and I’m happy with how I’ve played considering that I just got back to playing competitive golf recently,” said Fraser, who missed eight months of action due to a wrist injury.

 

England’s Tommy Fleetwood (70) was alone in fourth on five-under, one ahead of Asian Tour star Scott Hend (69) of Australia.

 

India No. 1 Anirban Lahiri did not get the win he wanted as he signed off with a 73 to share sixth place on three-under with Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee (68) and American Jonathan Moore (71). However, the 27-year-old Lahiri earned a place at the 144th Open at St Andrews in 2015 as one of the top four players who are not otherwise exempt for the world’s oldest major.

 

“I’m obviously very disappointed with how I played today. There were lot of positives out there for me and I was struggling on my game today,” Lahiri said. “At least for my consolation I earned a spot at The Open next year. That would put some balm on my wounds. I’ve had a great year and I have a lot to look forward to.”

 

Sergio Garcia, the 2013 champion, was ninth on two-under after a closing 69, one ahead of Kiradech Aphibarnrat (68).

 

Thailand Golf Championship, Amata Spring G&CC, Chonburi Province, Thailand

280 – Lee WESTWOOD (ENG) 70-71-72-67.

281 – Martin KAYMER (GER) 71-72-70-68, Marcus FRASER (AUS) 69-72-70-70.

283 – Tommy FLEETWOOD (ENG) 71-69-73-70.

284 – Scott HEND (AUS) 70-74-71-69.

285 – Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 72-71-74-68, Jonathan MOORE (USA) 71-71-72-71, Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 71-73-68-73.

286 – Sergio GARCIA (ESP) 71-75-71-69.

287 – Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 76-72-71-68, Paul PETERSON (USA) 71-72-75-69, Terry PILKADARIS (AUS) 77-69-72-69.

288 – Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 69-77-73-69, Bernd WIESBERGER (AUT) 76-74-68-70, Charlie WI (KOR) 74-72-71-71.

289 – Kodai ICHIHARA (JPN) 78-68-72-71, Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN) 74-73-71-71.

290 – Danny CHIA (MAS) 77-74-72-67, Berry HENSON (USA) 73-72-74-71, WANG Jeung-hun (KOR) 73-72-73-72, Unho PARK (AUS) 76-74-68-72.

 

Source: Asian Tour (www.asiantour.com); Editing by SportAsia

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