Fabrizio Zanotti had few expectations entering the Maybank Championships after three missed cuts. But all that changed in the final six holes of the tournament as he roared home with three birdies and an eagle to claim the title by a shot.
The Paraguayan began the final round six shots off the pace at Kuala Lumpur’s Saujana Golf and Country Club but a birdie on the 71st hole saw him hit the top of the leaderboard for the first time in the event.
But he wasn’t finished yet. He found the green on the par-5 18th in two shots and coolly rolled in the 15-foot eagle to put the icing on a brilliant nine under 63 and a 19 under par total.
American David Lipsky, who led for much of the back nine, also birdied the 17th but could not repeat Zanotti’s feat. He parred to finish at 18 under, a stroke ahead of Austria's Bernd Wiesberger and two clear of France's Alexander Levy.
Masters Tournament champion Danny Willett entered the final day with a three-shot lead but a closing 73 saw him slip to 15 under alongside China's Li Haotong.
Zanotti’s stunning return to form saw him claim his first trophy since he won the 2014 BMW International Open in a play-off.
"I think it was probably the best round of my career, so I’m very happy," Zanotti said. "It was a really good day, a really good week and I’m really happy.
"I think it was at the 15th where I thought I might be able to win, when I made birdie there. I thought, maybe I’ll have a chance if I make two more birdies, but I made a birdie and an eagle so it was great.
"It feels really good to be a winner again. I’ve been working a lot and I was not in my best run of form, missing three cuts in a row, but that’s in the past and today I’m a winner again and it feels great."
Levy, Lipsky and Willett were in the final group and they battled it out for supremacy on the front nine with Levy catching Willett at the turn, but behind them Zanotti was making his move.
NSW’s Sam Brazel was the best of the Australian contingent, firing a final round three under 69 to move into a tie for 12th. The Hong Kong Open champion moved to within a few strokes of the lead on the front nine but couldn’t maintain the momentum after the turn.
Defending champion Marcus Fraser had two late bogies in his second round, which left him at one under and he missed the cut by a single shot.