Darren Clarke finished tied for 50th as England’s Lee Westwood fired a final round 67 to win the US$1 million Thailand Golf Championship and move back into the world's top 30.
As Clarke closed with a 74 to finish on nine over par, former world number one Westwood won by a stroke from overnight leader Marcus Fraser of Australia and Germany’s Martin Kaymer on eight under par 280 at the Amata Spring Country Club.
India’s Anirban Lahiri did not get the win he wanted as he signed off with a 73 to share sixth place with Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and American Jonathan Moore at the Thai showpiece.
The 27-year-old, however earned a well-deserved place at the 144th Open at St. Andrews in 2015 as one of the top four players who are not otherwise exempted from the world’s oldest Major.
The other three spot in The Open went to Fraser, Scott Hend and Moore.
“When I won the Thailand Golf Championship in 2011, I had a pretty big lead," said Westwood who will move from 43rd to around 26th in the world. "But this win is obviously very special as it was a very tight day out there and I didn’t get off to the best of starts and I had lots of work to do."
Starting the round two shots back of Fraser, Westwood seemed to have fallen out of the equation when he opened with two successive bogeys.
But the Englishman showed his mettle with a stunning comeback where he fired four straight birdies starting from the par-four sixth hole.
He continued his amazing birdie blitz by marking his card with more red numbers on holes 11, 14 and 15 to seal his second Thailand Golf Championship win and his 38th as a professional.
“My caddy, Billy told me there were opportunities to pick some shots up in the middle of the round after I made those two bogeys. I did that and didn’t drop anymore shots and gave myself lots of chances,” said Westwood, who won the Maybank Malaysian Open in April.
“This is my last event of the year and it’s nice to finish with a win and go into Christmas and start the New Year with confidence. I know what I’ve got to work on and I’ll be doing that over the next six weeks before the season starts again."
Thailand Golf Championship. Amata Spring CC
280 – Lee WESTWOOD (ENG) 70-71-72-67. $180,000
281 – Martin KAYMER (GER) 71-72-70-68, Marcus FRASER (AUS) 69-72-70-70. $86,500 each
283 – Tommy FLEETWOOD (ENG) 71-69-73-70.
284 – Scott HEND (AUS) 70-74-71-69.
285 – Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 72-71-74-68, Jonathan MOORE (USA) 71-71-72-71, Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 71-73-68-73.
286 – Sergio GARCIA (ESP) 71-75-71-69.
287 – Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 76-72-71-68, Paul PETERSON (USA) 71-72-75-69, Terry PILKADARIS (AUS) 77-69-72-69.
288 – Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 69-77-73-69, Bernd WIESBERGER (AUT) 76-74-68-70, Charlie WI (KOR) 74-72-71-71.
289 – Kodai ICHIHARA (JPN) 78-68-72-71, Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN) 74-73-71-71.
290 – Danny CHIA (MAS) 77-74-72-67, Berry HENSON (USA) 73-72-74-71, WANG Jeung-hun (KOR) 73-72-73-72, Unho PARK (AUS) 76-74-68-72.
297 - Darren CLARKE (NIr) 75-75-73-74 $4,300