Nacho Elvira edges closer to Maybank Championship title

Ruben Hill
March 24, 2019

Kuala Lumpur - Australia's Scott Hend won the Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, edging Spain's Nacho Elvira in a sensational playoff after tropical thunderstorms halted play for two hours.

Elvira has been on song since the opening round where he joint-led the standings, and the Spaniard maintained that consistency with seven birdies to reach 13-under in sweltering conditions at the Saujana Golf & Country Club. But he took a dramatic route, as play was first suspended due to lightning when the final group was on the 18th green.

They returned after a delay of 100 minutes and Elvira nailed his birdie putt from 30 feet for a two-under 70 to tie the scores at 15-under 273 and force the play-off. "If you don't have any luck you won't win", Hend added.

In the first play-off hole Hend found a tree with his tee shot and then again the second shot hit another tree and went into the greenside bunker, from where he made a remarkable third shot to within three feet of the pin and holed it for birdie. It was an unbelievable putt and the situation he holed it in was awesome. All credit to him. I had the luck today, unfortunately for Nacho. His time will come, he's going to win.

Australian Lucas Herbert is just two shots from the lead of Thomas Pieters after 36 holes of the Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur, the Victorian's second consecutive round of 69 leaving him as the best placed of the large Australian contingent as the jointly sanctioned heads into the weekend.

Hend had looked the favourite after posting six birdies to take a single shot lead heading into the final hole, but the deluge precipitated a resurgence by overnight leader Elvira.

"Overall I'm happy", Elvira said.

"I think I played great all week, I'm very happy with that". Obviously I had a bit of luck on the play-off hole. "That's all I can do, just put myself in position".

The title, however, remains up for grabs with Australian Scott Hend, Germany's Maximilian Kieffer and Thai stalwart Jazz Janewattananond only three shots off Elvira.

The 49-year-old South African carded a final-round 71 to tie for seventh place on 10 under par.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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