Simsby denies Dodt in Malaysia Open playoff

American Trevor Simsby picked up his first Asian Tour title after sinking a four-foot birdie putt to emerge triumphant on the second play-off hole against Australia’s Andrew Dodt at the weather-shortened Bandar Malaysia Open on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Simsby, who earned his 2020 Asian Tour card after capping a commendable season on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) last year, opted for an aggressive style of play in his three trips down the 18th hole which clearly paid off for him at the Kota Permai Golf and Country Club.

He went for the green on the par-five, 565-yard hole but found himself in the right rough in regulation play. He then hit his third shot to the green and two-putted for par to sign for a closing two-under-par 70 and a 13-under-par 203 total.

Simsby, who played in the second last group, endured an agonising wait in the clubhouse before countryman Jarin Todd and Australian Andrew Dodt matched his efforts by carding rounds of 70 and 72 respectively in the prestigious US$1 million event.

The trio returned to the 18th hole for the sudden-death playoff which saw Todd bowing out after missing a 15-foot birdie putt while Dodt, who led the first two rounds, made his from eight feet and Simsby nailing his from three feet after hitting his lob-wedge from a tough angle.

Trevor Simsby Trevor Simsby (Credit: Asian Tour)

Simsby and Dodt returned to the 18th tee for the second play-off hole and Simsby found the fairway again after opting to tee off with his driver instead of his three-wood which he used on the first extra hole. His aggressive play proved rewarding as his second shot landed just short of the green.

Dodt hit his tee shot to the left rough and had to lay up with an iron to the middle of the fairway before hitting his approach to 15 feet, leaving himself a tough putt for birdie. Simsby, on the other hand, chipped up to four feet and eventually won after Dodt missed his putt.

The 34-year-old Dodt was looking for his 4th Asian Tour win after breaking a four-year winless drought at the 2019 Sarawak Championship, also in a playoff.

Simsby was thrilled to claim his career biggest win yet in only his 12th start on the Asian Tour and first this season at the Malaysian showpiece.

He finished 84th on the 2019 Asian Tour Order of Merit to miss out on his playing rights for 2020 but a seventh-place finish on the ADT Merit rankings last season saw him regain his Asian Tour card for 2020.

Simsby takes home a winner’s purse of US$180,000 and moves to second place on the Order of Merit, where Australian Wade Ormsby extended his lead following a top-10 finish at the National Open of Malaysia.

Amateur Lawry Flynn was the next best of the Aussies in a share of 16th place at 8-under. The Queenslander won the Malaysian Amateur Open last year and has played in several professional tournaments including the recent QLD PGA where he finished in a share of 33rd.

Source – Asian Tour