South Korean teenager Noh Seung-yul edged out veteran compatriot KJ Choi by one shot to win the Maybank Malaysian Open today following a dramatic finale at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.
The 18-year-old 2008 Midea China Classic champion holed a four-foot birdie putt on the 18th green to card a four-under-par 68 after playing a superb chip shot from the edge of the practice putting green behind a hospitality marquee.
Choi, 39, had earlier birdied the last to card a three-under-par 69 and post the clubhouse lead at 13 under.
“I first won on the Asian Tour in 2008 but I struggled last year, but to win early in this year I am very happy,” said Noh, who now holds card in Asia, Europe and Japan.
“Coincidentally when I was playing a practise round with KJ earlier in the week he asked me when my last win was and when I told him it was in 2008 he said ’isn’t it about time you won?’ For it to happen this week, I couldn’t think of a better situation.”
Noh stepped onto the final tee with a one-shot lead after Choi shipped the only bogey of his final round on his penultimate hole following a poor tee shot.
Noh, though, hooked his drive onto the parallel 10th fairway before hitting his approach onto the cart path next to the practice putting green at the side of the final green, with the cheers from Choi’s four-foot birdie putt echoing down the fairway.
But after being handed relief from the path and then the fence surrounding the putting green, Noh – who began his round with a chip-in birdie at the first hole of the day – held his nerve to chip over a greenside bunker to seal a dramatic victory.
Joint overnight leaders Rhys Davies (71) and Kiradech Aphibarnrat (71) and Soren Hansen (70) all missed lengthy birdie putts at the last to finish tied for third at 12 under par.
Danny Willett posted a second consecutive 68 over the weekend to claim sixth, a further shot off the pace, while Swede Johan Edfors (71) and Asian number one Thongchai Jaidee (71) finished tied for seventh at 10 under par.
Welsh Challenge Tour graduate Davies was on course to complete a wire-to-wire victory for his first European Tour title after sharing a one-shot overnight lead with Thai Kiradech, but was two over par at the turn after shipping three bogeys on the traditionally scoring-friendly front nine.
And the 24-year-old’s three birdies over his last seven holes proved too little too late, although the two-time Challenge Tour winner was able to post his best finish on the European Tour after claiming sixth at the Open de Andalucia last year.
“There are a lot of positives for this week,” he said. “I wasn’t too comfortable today but I still managed to stay calm and stick to what I was trying to do.
“I battled well today and eventually found good rhythm with the putter on the back nine. I felt I was going to make every putt I looked at and if I had had a little bit of luck coming in I might have made a few more, but that’s the way it was today.”
Ireland's Peter Lawrie finished tied for tenth on -8.