Ulster ace Gareth Maybin proved he has the talent to push pals Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell in the Race to Dubai despite his agonising near miss in the Malaysian Open.

The 28-year-old Ballyclare star hit nine birdies in a sensational final round 66 but had to settle for sixth place after a closing bogey cost him a chance to force a possible play-off.

The former Hooters Tour player, who lost to Richard Sterne in a play-off for the South African Open in December, came to the par-five 18th needing a birdie four to snatch the clubhouse lead on 17-under par. 

Instead he pushed his drive onto the 10th fairway and ran out of fairway to the left of 18th with his second before hitting a nine-iron that came up short on a mound to the right of the green.

Maybin chipped his fourth shot some 15-feet past the flag and missed out on joining those who eventually finished tied for second when he agonisingly left his par putt in the jaws of the hole.

Up to eight places to 85th in the provisional world rankings ahead of a Monday finish at Pebble Beach, Maybin earned €54,425 to jump three spots to 19th in the Race to Dubai with earnings of €204,052 from just six starts.

And while a win could have pushed him close to making the top 64 in the world who will tee it up in next week's WGC - Accenture Match Play in Arizona, he was happy with his week's work.

Before heading to the airport with playing partner Peter Lawrie, Maybin said: "I got a couple of good breaks and a couple of bad breaks today but overall I am pretty happy. 

"It was disappointing to bogey the last after hitting my chip shot a little too hard and I put that down to a little bit of adrenalin or nerves.
"Overall, I played solid all week and I am very pleased with the way I played.  I've now had a second and a sixth in just six events and that's not bad, so I'll take that."

Asia-based American Anthony Kang took the title by a shot from David Horsey, Prayad Marksaeng, Jyothi Ryanhawa and Miles Tunnicliff on 17-under par after two putting the last for a winning birdie and a round of 67.

But Spanish Open champion Lawrie believes it won't be long before the Ballyclare man is challenging fellow Ulstermen McIlroy and McDowell for top honours.

"Gareth's a very good player and the future continues to be very bright for Irish golf, " said Lawrie, who carded a final round 72 to share 21st place.
"He did very well despite being a little unlucky at the last. The way Gareth played he could run very close to Rory and the two will push each other o,n even though Gareth is a little bit older than Rory.
"You've also got Graeme McDowell so they're going to be a good threesome." It was Kang’s first win on the European Tour and he was delighted after claiming a win that could have easily gone to any one of ten men on a see-saw day at the Saujana Golf Club.

Speaking shortly after lifting the trophy, he said: “It feels wonderful. The last three rounds is probably the best golf I’ve played so far. I think I made only one bogey.”

Starting the day five shots adrift of the lead, Ulsterman Maybin for the fast start he needed when he opened with four birdies in his first six holes.

For the second day in a row the man from Ballyclare only missed two greens in regulation and this helped him hit another purple patch on the back nine, with five birdies in six holes starting at the 11th.

It all meant he got to the last on 16 under and right in the hunt for the title. A birdie would have been enough to force a play-off but sadly a bogey six meant that a great week in the Malasyian heat did not have the fairytale ending.

Kang’s victory owed much to the faltering of the men who had headed the leaderboard after round three. Overnight leader Adam Blyth struggled with his game from the off and never really looked at ease as he battled to a 73 which dropped him to 10th.

Alexander Noren and Wen Chong Liang, playing alongside Blyth in the final group, failed to take advantage of the Australian’s stuttering form and could only manage to post closing rounds of 71 to end the tournament on fourteen under.

David Horsey of England undoubtedly had the round of the day, signing for a brilliant 64 that saw him soar up the leaderboard and end in a tie for second place, alongside compatriot Miles Tunnicliff, Prayad Marksaeng and Jyoti Randhawa.

Those four could have easily found themselves in a play-off had Kang not found a birdie on the last but the American held his nerve to hole out from close range and claim the biggest win of his career to date.