Luiten triumphs in Johor

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Rising star Joost Luiten of the Netherlands translated a run of good form to win the weather-hit Iskandar Johor Open on Sunday.

Rising star Joost Luiten of the Netherlands translated a run of good form to win the weather-shortened Iskandar Johor Open on Sunday.

Luiten overcame a four-shot deficit with a sizzling six-under-par 65 to defeat Daniel Chopra of Sweden by one shot in the US$2 million event co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours that was reduced to 54 holes due to adverse weather in the first three days.

Chopra narrowly missed his 20 foot eagle putt on the last hole to force a play-off and settled for second with a final round 70 at the Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club.

Former Asian Tour member Rhys Davies of Wales, title holder Padraig Harrington of Ireland and James Morrison of England finished in a tie for third, two shots behind the champion.

Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, a three-time Asian Tour number one, Charlie Wi of Korea, Shiv Kapur of India and Bangladeshi Siddikur ended their campaigns as the top Asians in joint15th place.

Luiten, who has six 10-tops this year, turned in 30 highlighted by a hat-trick of birdies from the second hole before adding another birdie on 11 to win his first European Tour title.

Playing on the second last flight, Luiten had an agonizing wait, but revelled in delight when Chopra missed his eagle putt on the last which would have forced a play-off.

“Well it is always tough to get your first Tour win and you’ll always believe that you’ll get a good one.

“I’ve come close for a few times and I’m really relieved to finally win. Now I’m looking for the next one,” said the 25-year-old, who won US$333,330 with a winning total of 15-under-par 198.

“I knew at the beginning of the week that it would be the raining season here so it didn’t really let it bother me. You just need to relax when the delay comes and accept it. You can’t let it get to you or it will affect your round,” said Luiten, who wears two gloves in the wet for a better grip.

Chopra, who held a two-shot lead after play was suspended yesterday, was disappointed not to recapture the title he won way back in 1993.

His title hopes looked to have faded after a double bogey on seven but the two-time PGA Tour winner battled back with three birdies in his closing six holes to finish lone second.

“I was very disappointed because I hit the ball really nicely (the double bogey). It was really the only bad shot I made all day. I had a bad break there but I knew there was a long way to go and if I could get some birdies, I would still have a chance to win. I just tried to stay patient,” said Chopra, who grew up in India.

“It is a great way to finish the year. It has been a long hard working year and it is nice to have this good finish at the end of the year. It gives you some encouragement for the next year,” added the Swede, who earned his 2012 PGA Tour card through the Nationwide Tour this year.

Siddikur was delighted with his strong finish but rued the opportunity of sealing a better result when he missed a five feet birdie putt on the last.

“Overall, it was a good round and I’m happy with how I played especially since I missed the cut in Singapore. I have two more events before the end of the year and I’m quite confident of doing well there,” said Siddikur, the first Bangladeshi to play and win on the Asian Tour.

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