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Watney Sweeps to Win in Malaysia
Nick Watney fired a course-record 10-under 61 to overcome a four-stroke deficit starting the final round and win the CIMB Classic. The $6.1 million event co-sanctioned by the PGA and Asian tours was held at the Mines Resort & Golf Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Watney carded five birdies on the front nine to make the turn in 5-under 30, then really got rolling with six birdies on Nos. 11-17. With a birdie on the par-4 18th, the 31-year-old from Sacramento could have shot a magical 59, but instead bogeyed the last for a 72-hole total of 22-under 262.
"I saw Tiger (Woods) got off to a good start, so I wasn't really thinking about winning when I teed off," said Watney in reference to Woods' five birdies on the front nine; three more on the back gave him a final-round 63 and a T-4 finish. "But the round sort of built momentum and things just kept getting better and better. I'm thrilled to have come away with the win."
As for the possibility of shooting a 59, Watney noted, "I was more concerned with just winning the tournament. I really wanted to finish strong and hit a couple good shots, and I hit a pretty good drive because to the right is the trouble on 18, so I hit a decent drive, and it plugged in the left rough, and I took a drop. And the ball went into a divot in the rough.
"So 59 kind of went out the window right there when I dropped it," added Watney, who earned $1.3 million for his sixth win on Tour and second of the 2012 season. "My friend Adam Scott, I remember a few years ago, he won the Qatar tournament, and he had a chance to shoot 59 if he eagled the last hole. But I kind of thought about that, and winning the tournament was more important than 59 for me."
Watney's wife Amber carried his bag for the last hole after his caddie Chad Reynolds needed treatment for heatstroke. "My wife carried the last hole, so she can say that we won the tournament when she caddied," he quipped.
Watney's 62 overtook 54-hole co-leaders Robert Garrigus and defending champion Bo Van Pelt, who both shot 66s to share second at 263. "Just lost by a shot and missed a bunch of putts on the front, and that was the difference," said Garrigus. "It's another runner up finish this year. I think that's number four. Piling up the cash. Just need to get a win. Hopefully the next two weeks will pan out for me."
"I think if you would have told me before the week started I would have finished second, I would have felt pretty good about it," commented Van Pelt, the winner of last week's Perth International in Australia. "Obviously had a good chance there today with the lead going into the last day. I felt like I played pretty good. I think I only missed two greens today, so whenever you have the lead and go out and hit it like that, you're happy."
Woods shared fourth with Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge (66) and fellow American Chris Kirk (67). Despite not pulling off the win, Woods was happy with his play this week. "I'm very pleased. I hit a bunch of good shots. I just had one little bad stretch yesterday. Other than that, I really played well this week . . . My goal was to get to 20 plus (under par). That's the only chance I had. I had to post that.
"That was the goal starting yesterday because that means I had to shoot 9 under today just to have any kind of chance. It ended up not being much of a chance. I think Nick is at 23-under right now with one to go. (Saturday's) last nine holes, that put me in a spot where I really couldn't win the championship."
Sweden's Carl Pettersson (62) took solo seventh at 266, while another stroke back was South Africa's Jbe' Kruger (68). Pat Perez closed with a 65 to end up ninth at 268, and another stroke back were Scott Piercy (62), India's Gaganjeet Bhullar (67), Kevin Na (67) and Brian Harman (69).
Woods, ranked No. 2 in the world behind Rory McIlroy, will compete against the Northern Irishman on Monday in a one-on-one match in China. McIlroy finished second in Sunday's BMW Masters in Shanghai. "We'll both probably be a little bit tired," Woods said. "But we're going to try and put on a good show, shoot a low round and have a little bit of fun."
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