PHOTO: Watney is The Winner After Spectacular 61 at Cimb Classic
American Nick Watney fired a scintillating 10-under-par 61 to win the US$6.1 million CIMB Classic by one shot from title holder Bo Van Pelt and Robert Garrigus on Sunday.
In a thrilling final round shootout, 14-time Major champion Tiger Woods was on the prowl at the Mines Resort and Golf Club, shooting a brilliant 63 which proved a little too late as he settled for tied fourth place, three back, in the co-sanctioned Asian Tour and PGA Tour tournament.
South African Jbe Kruger emerged as the leading Asian Tour performer in eighth position after a 68 while India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar took a share of 10th place after signing for a 67. Thai star Thaworn Wiratchant, currently leading the Asian Tour Order of Merit, fired a 66 for tied 16th spot.
Watney’s triumph, courtesy of a 22-under-par 262 aggregate, was his second of the season and the world number 22 did it in style to pick up the winner’s cheque of US$1.3 million.
“The round sort of built momentum and things just kept getting better and better. I’m thrilled to have come away with a win,” said Watney, who has five previous triumphs on the PGA Tour.
Starting the final day four back, the 31-year-old charged out with an outward 30 and then ran off six more birdies on his homeward stretch to give himself a chance of shooting golf’s magical 59 playing the last hole.
However, the tall American bogeyed the 18th which gave last year’s champion Van Pelt a chance to force a play-off. However, Van Pelt could only make par in front of 13,500 spectators.
Watney said the thought of shooting the first ever 59 in Asia crossed his mind when he sank his 11th birdie of the day on the 17th hole. However, his approach shot from a divot ended any hopes as he dropped a bogey.
“Well, you know, I was more concerned with just winning the tournament. 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. Winning the tournament was more important than 59 for me,” he said.
“I really enjoyed beating Tiger. Any time that you can play in this era, I think everybody would agree these last 15 years, he is been by far the biggest attraction in our sport, so I think it’s great for every tournament that he comes to.”