KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Scott Hend of Australia closed with a 5-under 67, had to wait nearly two hours to see if it would be good enough, and then made a 3-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to win the Maybank Championship on Sunday.
Hend was one shot ahead of overnight leader Nacho Elvira when the Spaniard needed a birdie on the par-5 18th to force a playoff. As he was hitting his short pitch, a loud clap of thunder caused him to hit the shot some 30 feet short. The storm led to a delay of 1 hour, 40 minutes, and Elvira returned to hole the birdie putt for a 70.
The playoff at Saujana Golf & Country Club didn’t last as long as the delay.
Returning to the 18th, Hend’s tee shot hit a tree and landed back in the fairway. His next shot went into a bunker, and he blasted out to 3 feet. Elvira’s birdie putt stopped just short of the hole, and the 45-year-old Hend knocked in his birdie for his third European Tour title.
He also captured his 10th Asian Tour title in the co-sanctioned event.
“I felt like I played fantastic on the back nine. I nearly holed a lot of putts, just missing. I just had to keep my head on and stay patient, stay in there. I’m just trying to soak it all up and remember what it feels like to win,” Hend said.
“I had the luck today, unfortunately for Nacho. His time will come, he’s going to win. He’s a great player, he’s going to win.”
Elvira was in contention throughout the tournament and looking to land a maiden European Tour title. Instead, he had to settle for runner-up in his second straight start, having finishing behind Justin Harding at the Qatar Masters two weeks ago.
“It was a bit of bad luck,” Elvira said. “I’m glad I made it last a little longer with the playoff. Sometimes it works for you and sometimes it doesn’t. I tried to give it all on the play-off hole. I just missed my driver and gave myself a little chance to make birdie.”
Jazz Janewattananond closed with a 69 to finish two shots out of the playoff, followed by American Johannes Veerman (66).
Four-time major winner Ernie Els closed with a 71 to tie for seventh, five shots behind.