AMERICAN Nick Watney missed a chance for a 59, but walked away with the Cimb Classic title even though he closed in with a bogey for a course-record 10-under 61 at The Mines Resort and Golf Club yesterday.
He needed a birdie on the par-4 18th for a 59, but drove into the left rough, failed to reach the green with his approach and left his long birdie pitch just short of the putting surface.
But it did not matter a bit, as the third American to win the title, he pocketed US$1.3 million with his 22-under 262.
Defending champion Bo Van Pelt and Robert Garrigus, both from the US, tied for second one stroke behind. Van Pelt needed a birdie on 18 to force a playoff, but saved par for a 66.
Garrigus also finished with a 66.
"I really wanted to finish strong ... but winning the tournament was more important than a 59 for me," Watney said.
He needed his wife, Amber, to carry his bag for the last hole of the first round when his caddie Chad Reynolds needed treatment for heat-stroke in the first round. After that, he used a local caddie for the second round, and Reynolds came back for the weekend.
Watney, 31, started the final round tied for seventh and said he didn't even think about winning until he walked to the 13th tee with a share of the lead.
He started with two birdies, adding at the sixth, eighth and ninth to turn in 30. He birdied three straight from the 11th to take the outright lead at 20-under from Van Pelt.
The American then stretched the margin with another three consecutive birdies from the 15th, including a 25-foot putt from the edge of the green at the 16th.
He settled for a birdie on the par-5 17th after missing an eagle putt, then ran into trouble on 18 when he found the rough off the tee and appeared to mis-hit his second shot.
"So the 59 went out the window right there," he said. "I was more concerned with just winning the tournament. "
Japan's Ryo Ishikawa holds the lowest round on a major Tour, when he shot a 12-under 58 to win the 2010 Crowns on the Japan Tour.
Tiger Woods finished tied-fourth, and will now face-off with top-ranked Rory McIlroy, in the BMW Masters in Shanghai.
"We'll both probably be a little bit tired. But we're going to try and put on a good show, shoot a low round and have a little bit of fun."
Next year, the Cimb Clasic will become a full-fledged PGA Tour event.
Nick Watney cards course record final round 61 to win CIMB Classic title on four-day total of 22-under 262