Justin Thomas bags back-to-back CIMB Classic wins as Anirban Lahiri crumbles

The American cards a flawless eight-under-par 64 final round at TPC Kuala Lumpur to win by three shots from Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 October, 2016, 4:29pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 October, 2016, 9:49pm

Justin Thomas secured a back-to-back CIMB Classic title on Sunday after posting a flawless eight-under-par 64 to erase a four-stroke overnight deficit in the only PGA Tour event he has ever won.

Thomas finished at 23-under overall at TPC Kuala Lumpur, three shots ahead of Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, whose final round 66 was not enough to keep up.

Both of the 23-year-old Thomas’s two PGA Tour wins have now come at the tournament in Malaysia.

On Saturday, he had been cruising toward the title when he dropped four shots in a disastrous three-hole stretch to start his back nine.

That put India’s Anirban Lahiri in the driver’s seat with a four-stroke lead coming into the final round, but on Sunday it was his turn to falter after stumbling badly on the third hole with a quadruple bogey nine.

Although he clawed back with a birdie and an eagle on the next two holes, a bogey quickly followed and Lahiri’s title hopes were in dire straits.

UBS Hong Kong Open-bound Lahiri ended up tied for third at 19-under with Derek Fathauer of the United States, with Australia’s Marc Leishman two strokes further back.

Thomas’s 26-under-par score en route to victory last year was the best showing yet in the tournament, which debuted in 2010.

The US$7 million tournament is jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the PGA Tour and offers US$1.26 million to the winner.

It is the second event of the PGA Tour’s 2017 schedule, and offers 500 points toward the FedEX Cup championship and an invite to the winners-only 2017 Tournament of Champions.

Of the others heading to Hong Kong Golf Club in December, Spain’s Rafa Cabrerra Bello claimed a tie for 10th alongside six other including world number six Adam Scott.

American Ryder Cup winner Patrick Reed could only managed a five-over-par final round of 77 to slip down into a tie for 51st.