Titleist staffer Kiradech Aphibarnrat captured his maiden European Tour title after holding off a star-studded field at the weather-shortened Malaysian Open.
One ahead of former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel at the start of the third and final day, the 23-year-old held firm with a 2-under 70 for a one-shot victory over former European Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari on 13-under.
Aphibarnrat looked to have surrendered his advantage around the turn when three-putting the seventh for bogey after running his birdie putt 12-foot past the hole, shortly before dropping another shot at the 12th when chipping eight feet past.
But the in-form Thai, who finished fourth a week prior at the Avantha Masters, held his nerve on the closing holes with stunning wedges to the 14th and 16th to set up birdies.
And with a two-shot lead playing the par-5 18th, Aphibarnrat was afforded the luxury of bogeying the hole to see out a one-shot win.
Aphibarnrat, who becomes the fourth Thai after Thongchai Jaidee, Thaworn Wiratchant and Chapchai Nirat to win a co-sanctioned tournament, now moves more than 80 places up the world rankings and into the top-90.
“I’m so happy this week,” he said. “I’m proud of myself and for my family. I almost won here a few years ago and finally I made it. I’m so happy.”
What’s in Aphibarnrat’s bag
Driver: Titleist 913 D3 (7.5-degree)
Irons: Titleist 712 CB
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM4 (52 and 60-degree)
Ball: 2013 Titleist Pro V1x
Footwear: FootJoy Sport BOA
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