AMERICAN Nick Watney ended an eventful week in Malaysia with a brilliant 61 and a one-stroke victory at the CIMB Classic yesterday, leaving Tiger Woods in joint fourth place after he closed with a 63.
Watney’s opening 71 finished with his wife Amber carrying the bag after his caddie suffered heatstroke, but from eight strokes behind at that point, the 31-year-old powered his way back, and even had a chance to round things off with a 59.
Like Bo Van Pelt the day before, Watney stood on the final tee at The Lakes in Kuala Lumpur needing a birdie for the magical mark.
Van Pelt had double-bogeyed, but although Watney was disappointed when he came up short of the green and failed to get up and down, the bogey proved good enough to give him the winner’s cheque of £807,000 with a 22-under-par total of 262.
Joint second were defending champion Van Pelt and Robert Garrigus, the former having cause to rue the 18th again when he failed to make the birdie he required for a play-off.
Woods was only two behind after going to the turn in 30 for the second day running, but only two more birdies on the inward half were never likely to be enough and he finished three back.
The eight-under-par 63 was, however, his second lowest score of a season in which he has won three times and moved ahead of Jack Nicklaus with 74 PGA Tour victories.
“I left a couple out there,” he said. “I hit a bunch of good shots, but just had one little bad stretch yesterday. Other than that, I really played well.”
Watney, four behind and joint seventh with a round to go, said: “I wasn’t really thinking about winning, but the round sort of built momentum and things just kept getting better and better.
“After the first round I thought I was out of it to be honest.” He was lying joint 38th in a 48-strong field.
Winner of the first of the FedEx Cup play-off events in August, he matched Woods’ outward 30, had a hat-trick of birdies from the 11th and then three more in a row before coming to the last.
Van Pelt, trying to retain the title a week after winning the European Tour’s Perth International, and Garrigus shared the overnight lead and shot 66s.
Swede Carl Pettersson burst from 19th to seventh with a 62, while Scot Martin Laird (70) finished joint 26th.