Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Marc Leishman carded a final-round seven-under-par 65 to emerge from a three-way tie for the 54-hole lead with a five-shot victory at the CIMB Classic.
The 34-year-old Australian claimed his fourth PGA Tour title and broke the stranglehold of the Americans, who have triumphed in the last eight editions of the US$7 million event.
Leishman’s 26-under 262 total tied Justin Thomas in his 2015 victory for the lowest 72-hole total since the tournament moved to TPC Kuala Lumpur, a Golf Course Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo (66) and Americans Chesson Hadley(66) and first round leader Bronson Burgoon (68) shared second place.
Thomas, searching for a third CIMB Classic victory, made a final day charge with a 64 but had to settle for joint fifth place with Major winner Louis Oosthuizen, Ancer Abraham, Charles Howell and Gary Woodland.
But there was disappointment for joint overnight leader Shubhankar Sharma, who was aiming to become only the second Indian to win on the PGA Tour. However, he had to settle for tied-10th place following a closing 72 in his debut at the event.
“I feel unbelievable right now,” said Leishman, the first non-American to triumph in the PGA Tour’s only event in Southeast Asia.
He added: “Yesterday I started off great and struggled on the back nine, but I think that helped me today. I knew that even though I got off to a good start, I still needed to grind because there’s some tough holes out there. I managed to hit some good shots and this is the result.
“It’s great to get back in the winner’s circle. I’m excited to be back in Malaysia and leaving with this (trophy). It was nice to be playing the last few holes with a little bit of a buffer. Those finishing holes, they’re short but there’s a lot of trouble around, so if you’re not hitting good shots you can become unstuck.
“I was happy to walk away and be able to enjoy that walk up the last hole. I’m very excited about that. I guess it’s just a more determined mindset. No one wants to lose a lead on the back nine. I had that lead and I was very determined not to lose it.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a zone, it’s just more I think I just get very determined. That’s the word, I just get very determined. I wouldn’t say it’s a zone, but determination goes up.”