Australia’s Sam Brazel birdied the final hole at Hong Kong Golf Club to win the UBS Hong Kong Open by a shot from Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain.
Sam Brazel began the final day of the Hong Kong Open in a tie for the lead with Rafa Cabrera Bello but he emerged from a packed leaderboard to claim his first European Tour title in just his 17th start on the circuit.
Over the final nine holes at Hong Kong GC, the lead changed hands a number of times, at one point no fewer than six players shared top position.
Both Cabrera Bello and Brazel struggled to the turn in the final round, going out in two-over-par. That allowed the chasing pack to feature on the run for home.
Danny Willett made a run and so too did Tommy Fleetwood. Andrew Dodt also made a move, but Brazel pulled back in front with a birdie at the 13th.
Cabrera Bello joined the Australian at the top of the board with birdies at the 16th and 17th holes. That meant the pair were tied with just one to play.
Brazel’s approach to the home hole ended just eight feet from the pin and, while Cabrera Bello was unable to make birdie, Brazel rolled his putt home to take the title by a shot.
“I was lucky. That wasn’t the greatest second shot in there (at the last) but it ended up good and the rest is history.”
3 Talking points from the UBS Hong Kong Open
1 – Sam Brazel started the week ranked 480th in the world but he should now move into the top-50. The 37-year-old has been a professional for over a decade but had never won a significant tournament, plying his trade largely on the Asian Tour. He now has a two-year-exemption on the European Tour.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “I’d love to come to Europe. It will be a great privilege.”
2 – It’s been a great year for Rafa Cabrera Bello but he will end 2016 winless on the European Tour. He led the tournament by three at the halfway stage but struggled on Saturday, posting a level-par 70. The Spaniard should move up from 33rd place on the Official World Golf Ranking.
Rafa Cabrera Bello swing sequence:
3 – Danny Willett enjoyed a good week and looked like he might have a chance to win when he birdied the 13th hole to reach 10-under-par. But he dropped a shot at the 17th and finished back in sixth place. Still, it was the 2016 Masters champion’s first top-10 finish on the European Tour since the Italian Open in September.
UBS Hong Kong Open
Hong Kong GC, Fanling, Hong Kong
Purse €1,800,000, par 70
1 Sam Brazel (Aus) 66 66 67 68 267 €311,844
2 Rafa Cabrera Bello (Esp) 64 65 70 69 268 €207,896
T3 Andrew Dodt (Aus) 69 67 67 66 269 €105,342
T3 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 66 68 67 68 269 €105,342
5 David Lipsky (USA) 66 70 66 68 270 €79,334
6 Danny Willett (Eng) 68 66 71 66 271 €65,488
7 Paul Waring (Eng) 71 68 68 65 272 €56,132
T8 Danny Chia (Mas) 69 66 71 67 273 €44,345
T8 Pablo Larrazabal (Esp) 69 70 68 66 273 €44,345
T10 Jorge Campillo (Esp) 66 71 70 67 274 €33,539
T10 Marcus Fraser (Aus) 71 69 68 66 274 €33,539
T10 Jbe Kruger (RSA) 66 72 69 67 274 €33,539
T10 Jason Scrivener (Aus) 67 69 68 70 274 €33,539
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage