Maybank Championship: Danny Willett blows three shot lead to finish fifth in Malaysia

Danny Willett at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia
Danny Willett at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia
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Danny Willett threw away a three shot lead on a disappointing final day at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia.

The Sheffield golfer looked well on course to win his first tournament of the season as he started Sunday with a three shot advantage but carded by far his worst round of the week to slump to a tie for fifth.

As he toppled down the leaderboard, he was passed by eventual winner Fabrizio Zannotti of Paraguay, who secured the title with a brilliant eagle on the last.

Willett remained atop the rankings heading into the back nine, where he had thrived through the previous three rounds and not dropped a single shot.

His progress had already slowed, with a pair of bogeys on the front nine cancelling out two birdies.

And the signs of decline were clear as he opened the back nine with a bogey. Two more followed, including one on the last as he chances of victory waned.

The 29-year-old finished with a one over par round of 73 to drop to -15 for the week, finishing fifth alongside China’s Haotong Li.

Despite his poor final day, the fifth placed finish continues Willett’s good form at the Maybank. This was his fourth top ten finish at the event.

And he focused on the positives afterwards, writing on Twitter, Willett said: “Not what I worked for that today.. shows signs of improvement still.. Congrats Fabrizio!! Great round of golf.. Time to get back to the fam.”

Zanotti was just inside the top ten at the start of the day but carded seven birdies and an eagle to win the event by a single shot from America’s David Lipsky.

Meanwhile, the European Tour has announced a new six-hole team event as part of its effort to showcase different formats in pro golf.

The inaugural GolfSixes, will feature two-man teams from 16 different countries and take place at the Centurion Club near St Albans on May 6-7.