Lee Westwood claimed a unique Thailand Golf Championship double when he staged a fabulous fight back with a final round five-under-par 67 to win the US$1 million Asian Tour event on Sunday. Watch our round-up video (above).
The former world number one won the 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 the Amata Spring Country Club.
Overnight leader Marcus Fraser of Australia and Germany’s Martin Kaymer had their chances to force extra-time with Westwood but fell just short on the 72nd hole and settled for a share of second place one shot behind.
India’s Anirban Lahiri did not get the win he wanted as he signed off with a 73 to share sixth place with Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and American Jonathan Moore at the Thai showpiece. The 27-year-old, however, earned a well-deserved place at the 144th Open at St. Andrews in 2015 as one of the top four players who were not otherwise exempted from the world’s oldest Major.
Westwood was delighted with his win as he overcame intense pressure to lift the prestigious title again. ‘When I won the Thailand Golf Championship in 2011, I had a pretty big lead. But this win is obviously very special as it was a very tight day out there and I didn’t get off to the best of starts and I had lots of work to do,’ said Westwood.
Starting the round two shots back of Fraser, Westwood seemed to have fallen out of the equation when he opened with two successive bogeys. But the Englishman showed his mettle with a stunning comeback where he fired four straight birdies starting from the par-four sixth hole. He continued his amazing birdie blitz by marking his card with more red numbers on holes 11, 14 and 15 to seal his second title.
‘My caddy, Billy 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,’ said Westwood.
‘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,’ added the Englishman.
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 another two birdies on 10 and 11. However, a bogey-five on 12 followed by another costly bogey putt on the final hole resigned Fraser to tied-second place.
‘I gave a good fight and I’m happy with how I’ve played considering how I just got back to playing competitive golf recently,’ said Fraser, who missed eight months of action due to a wrist injury.