KUALA LUMPUR: An early birdie blitz followed by a perfect control on his nerves saw Anirban Lahiri grab his first co-sanctioned title by snatching the Maybank Malaysian Open from Bernd Wiesberger in a dramatic finish at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club here today.
Among the numerous benefits that will follow, this win could also earn Lahiri the coveted invite to Augusta Masters in April, as he moved to top-50 of the world.
When the new rankings come out tomorrow, Lahiri could well be inside the top-40 and he needs to be inside top-50 till the week before Masters to make the grade for the year's first Major. His stunning show in 2014 and a great start in 2015 could even earn him an invite before that.
"I don't think it's sunk in just yet," said Lahiri. "But I'm pretty sure when it hits home it's going to be a really happy moment for me.
"I think I've got a bad habit of making it hard for myself, but I'm happy I got over the line, as ugly as it was towards the end," he said.
"The Masters is definitely one of my targets. I don't know how far I'll move up, but I'm pretty confident now with this win I should have a pretty good chance," he added.
Lahiri also takes the early lead for Asian Tour Order of Merit and moves to seventh on Race to Dubai standings and also gets an exemption to European Tour till end of 2017.
Lahiri carded a dramatic 68 that started with four birdies in first five holes and then a steady back nine with two birdies and just one bogey on back nine for his maiden European Tour win and a sixth title on Asian Tour.
In contrast, Wiesberger, who began the day with a five-shot lead over fifth placed Lahiri, opened with two birdies, but a double bogey on par-5 fifth, where Lahiri birdied, and then three bogeys between 13th and 17th saw his lead evaporate and leave the Indian a deserving winner.
Lahiri (68) totalled 16-under to edge out Wiesberger (74) by one shot.
Meanwhile, another Indian, SSP Chowrasia, one of the only three Indians to win an European Tour title before Lahiri, carded 68 to finish tied 10th. Rashid Khan (67) was tied 38 and Shiv Kapur (71) was tied 46th.
Only Jeev Milkha Singh (4), Arjun Atwal (3) and Chowrasia (2) have won European Tour titles before Lahiri.