|Lee Westwood won the Maybank Malaysian Open with a superb seven-stroke margin.|
- S.S. KANESAN / The Star
Victory was already in hand for Westwood as he got ready to tee-off at the 18th and he birdied it as well to close with a four-under 68 for an 18-under 270. Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium, Bernd Wiesberger of Austria and South African Louis Oosthuizen, the winner here in 2012, finished joint second on 277.
It was the second Malaysian Open title for Westwood after claiming his first back in 1997 and the 40th worldwide win of his career. The Englishman started the day one shot ahead of compatriot Andy Sullivan and moved into a commanding four-stroke lead before the threat of lightning forced play to be suspended for over four hours. But any doubts about the former world number one faltering over the last seven holes when play restarted were quickly brushed aside.
Westwood, whose last European Tour victory came at the Nordea Masters in Sweden in June, 2012, kept up the hot pace to move six clear with a birdie at the 13th before parring his way to the last where he sunk a 15-footer for his fourth birdie for the day.
Westwood finished seventh at the US Masters at Augusta National a week ago and felt his improved form has been helped by changes on and off the course.
”I started working with a new coach, Mike Walker a few weeks ago and Billy Foster came back on the bag at the end of last year, so I was going back to what I had done before because it had worked,
”It started to work already – the last couple of weeks I’ve played well at the Houston Open and at the Masters last week and this week I obviously played very well.
”It is a golf course that suits my game, it’s very tight in certain areas. ”I played well, I putted well, and the short game is good,” said Westwood, whose win on Sunday was his 13th in Asia.
Westwood collected a winner’s cheque of US$458,330 (RM1.466mil) while Wiesberger, Colsaerts and Oosthuizen each won US$205,066 (RM656,211).
Asked whether he was approaching the form that took him to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking back in 2010, Westwood said: “The potential is there although now I feel like I got a short game and starting to roll a few putts in.
“It makes a hell of a difference if you can get up-and-down if you miss a few greens and keeps the momentum going.”
Sullivan, who had reduced Westwood’s lead to only one on Saturday, failed to keep up with his rival on Sunday. Sullivan found water at the second and hit a wayward fourth from the drop zone, eventually carding a triple bogey seven.
He managed to score a hat-trick of birdies immediately but dropped another shot at the seventh.
When play restarted, Sullivan dropped another after finding water at the 12th, leaving Westwood to race six shots clear with a 10 foot birdie at the 13th. Sullivan eventually dropped to a share of 13th place after finishing with a six-over 78 on a total of seven-under 281.