Forsyth Notches First Win in Malaysian Playoff
The 26-year-old Forsyth, in the field this week thanks to a sponsor's invitation, moved to sixth on the current Order of Merit and earned a two-year exemption on tour.
'It feels fantastic, absolutely fantastic,' said Forsyth. 'I was pretty low at the end of last year and it is really hard for me to explain the winning feeling.'
Forsyth and Leaney finished 72 holes of regulation tied at 17-under 267, then returned to the par-4 18th for the playoff. They traded pars on the first extra hole, but Forsyth had the advantage the second time down the 18th in sudden death when he hit the fairway and Leaney drove into the right rough.
After Leaney's approach landed 50 feet from the hole, Forsyth knocked a 9-iron from 160 yards out to 15 feet. Leaney then failed to convert his long birdie attempt and Forsyth sank his putt to complete the wire-to-wire victory.
'The putt was just outside the right edge of the hole. I hit it perfectly,' Forsyth said. 'I couldn't believe it.'
Forsyth was atop the leaderboard since posting a course-record 63 in the first round and entered the final day with a two-stroke lead. Although he pushed his lead to three shots through nine holes Sunday, Forsyth bogeyed three of the first five holes on the back nine and found himself trailing for the first time with just four holes to play.
A birdie on the 15th hole gave Leaney a two-shot cushion, but Forsyth cut the lead in half with a three-foot birdie at the 16th. Then Leaney, who had missed a 12-foot birdie at 16 that would have kept him two ahead, watched Forsyth tie the lead with a birdie putt of 10 feet at the 17th.
Both players parred the 18th in regulation.
'I almost had it in the bag at one point when I was three shots ahead and felt I was nearly cruising,' Forsyth said. 'To lose it and win it again was unbelievable.'
Leaney fired a bogey-free, 4-under-par 67 in the final round -- his third 67 of the week to go with a third-round 66. Forsyth closed with 1-under 70.
Forsyth, who won the 1999 European Tour Qualifying School finals, collected five top-10s in his rookie season of 2000 to finish 46th on that year's Order of Merit. He plummeted to 116th in earnings a year later after reeling in only one top-10 finish.
For Leaney, who suffered just one bogey all week, all that was left was to mull over missed opportunities.
'I felt I had the tournament in my hands on the 16th green,' said Leaney, a three-time European Tour winner who also captured the Malaysian Amateur Championship in 1992.
'But [Forsyth] played well. He showed some guts coming down the stretch because he struggled mid round. He made a couple of mistakes but to his credit he came back with some good birdies and it was a good putt to win the title.'
It was more than a two-man race to the finish Sunday. Germany's Alex Cejka, six shots off the lead at the start of the day, birdied eight holes in the final round, including the 15th, 16th and 17th to reach 17-under.
He drove into the trees at No. 18, however, and was unable to hit the green in two. After chipping to within 10 feet, Cejka left his par-saving putt an inch short of the hole.
'I actually never thought I could be right up there,' said Cejka, who shot a 6-under 65 to finish alone in third place at 16-under 268. 'I thought the course was playing pretty easy and I was five or six shots behind. It was unlucky that final putt came up short.'
Spaniards Miguel Angel Martin and Ignacio Garrido tied for fourth at 14-under. Ian Woosnam of Wales, who celebrated his 44th birthday Saturday, rounded out the top-10 at 13-under 271 with England's John Bickerton, Argentina's Ricardo Gonzalez, Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng and Des Terblanche of South Africa.
Ireland's Padraig Harrington, who finished runner-up in the Malaysian Open the last two years, tied for 11th at 12-under.
Christian Pena of the U.S. finished eight shots back after turning in a flawless 63 made up of four birdies and two eagles.
Full-field scores from the Malaysian Open
CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:
|T20||Charles Howell III||-14||$57,754|
|T36||Tyrone Van Aswegen||-12||$27,189|
|T69||Billy Hurley III||-6||$11,623|
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...
Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).
Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.
It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard
On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...
There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.
He sure looks like the real deal, though.
His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.
Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.
He picked up one more No. 2, too.
The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.
In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.
Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.
“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”
Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.
Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.
He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.
His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.
“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.
Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.