Clutch putting and experience helped Marcus Fraser to his third European Tour win.
The Australian began the final round of the Maybank Championship Malaysia three shots behind Korea’s Soomin Lee. However, the veteran Australian had the nous to stay in contention and then came up with an outstanding par putt to win the $490,000 first place check.
A closing 3-under-par 68 to go with earlier scores of 66, 69 and 66 gave Fraser a 15-under-par total of 269 and a two-shot victory over Lee and Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines.
Lee was in pole position with a two-shot lead after 15 holes. However, the 22-year-old double bogeyed the 16th to fall into a tie with Fraser. The 37-year-old Australian wasn’t surprised to find himself in contention to take the title.
“In the back of my head I felt like I had a chance,” Fraser said. “He’s quite young, and it’s a big thing to be leading a European Tour event with three or four holes to go. So I just tried to keep reminding myself to breathe and to play my own game and see what I could do.”
Fraser’s clutch putt came at the 17th when he holed a 10-foot par putt to stay tied for the lead. Lee then made another double bogey at the 18th to hand Fraser the title.
“The last two putts were pretty unbelievable,” Fraser said. “I was pretty nervous on 17, and I don’t know how I held onto the putter, just trying to stand over that one on the last, I was pretty nervous.”
Nothing from his play this season suggested Fraser would contend in Kuala Lumpur. He missed two of three cuts during the European Tour’s desert swing. A T59 in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters was all he had to show for his Middle East trip.
“I got to the Middle East and I think it was the three worst weeks of golf I’ve played in my career,” he admitted.
“I had some good practice when I went home, went back to absolute basics and tried to sort things out from the start and everything just fell into place as the week went on.
“A lot of putts found their way into the hole over the weekend, and it was definitely my week.”
It is Fraser’s fifth professional win, and his first since the 2010 Ballantine’s Championship in Korea. He moves to sixth on the European Tour order of merit. He also gains a European Tour exemption until the end of the 2018 season, and a spot in the WGC – Cadillac Championship.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) February 21, 2016