Maybank Malaysian Open: Kiradech Aphibarnrat wins by one in Kuala Lumpur
Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat claiming his maiden European Tour title at the weather-hit Maybank Malaysian Open.
Last Updated: 25/03/13 7:46am
For the fourth successive day the tournament, cut down to 54 holes on Saturday, was troubled by bad weather, a stoppage of over two hours coming just when the leading group were about to tee off at the 16th.
However the disruption didn't bother Aphibarnrat, who returned to the course to birdie the hole before saving par at the next after narrowly avoiding going into the water at the back of the green.
With a comfortable cushion at the summit the Thai could afford to take a six on the par-five last, signing for a 70 to complete a wire-to-wire victory.
The former junior world champion birdied the third and then eagled the par-five fifth to move clear, only for bogeys at the seventh and 12th to see him slip into a share of the lead with China's Wu Ashun.
However, he regained his composure to pick up a shot at the 14th and then crucially came out impressively after a break in the clubhouse.
"This means a lot to me," Aphibarnrat said. "I had been struggling a lot after getting sick with my thyroid, but I fought and worked hard with my dad and my coach to have today.
"I have to thank my family, my mum and dad have always supported me and I am sure they are in front of the TV watching."
Molinari had put the pressure on with a bogey-free final round of 67 that meant he held the clubhouse lead at 12 under just before play was halted at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
The Italian, who had missed the cut at his previous five events, ended up finishing alone in second place, one clear of Denmark's Anders Hansen (66).
France's Victor Dubuisson and South African Charl Schwartzel were tied together on 10 under after respective scores of 70 and 71.
English duo David Howell and Mark Foster were in an all-European five-man group a further shot back. They were joined by Pablo Larrazabl, Alexander Noren and Padraig Harrington, the Irishman having seen his title hopes fade with three bogeys in succession on the back nine.