Sam Brazel birdied the last to beat Rafa Cabrera Bello by one shot and win his first European Tour title at the UBS Hong Kong Open.
The Australian entered the week ranked 480th in the Official World Golf Ranking but entered the final day at Hong Kong Golf Club tied at the top of the leaderboard alongside Ryder Cup star Cabrera Bello in just his 17th European Tour appearance.
At one point there were six players in a tie for the lead on the back nine but Brazel held off a group with 11 European Tour titles between them, and an eight-foot putt on the last handed him a closing 68 and a 13 under par total.
Cabrera Bello had birded the 16th and 17th to set up a grandstand finish down the last but he could only make a par and finish 12 under as Brazel’s stunning approach set up just the second birdie of the day on the closing hole.
Australian Andrew Dodt and England’s Tommy Fleetwood were then at 11 under, a shot clear of American David Lipsky and two ahead of Danny Willett.
Brazel was visibly emotional as he lifted the trophy and the 37 year old credited a new set of clubs with helping get him over the line, although he revealed that the second shot into the last may not have been as clean as it appeared.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said.
“I’ve been playing good. It’s just been a bit of a struggle with the old irons and my man, Adam, set me up with a new set of bats, and it’s all sort of turned around. This is the fruit.
“I’d love to come over to Europe. It will be a great privilege.”
He added: “I was very lucky. That wasn’t the greatest second shot in there but it ended up good and the rest is history.
“It was a thrill to be out there the last few days. I hope that continues.”
Brazel started the day in a share of the lead with Cabrera Bello but the leading duo both turned in two over par 36 to allow the chasing pack to close the gap and set up a titanic battle on the back nine.
Cabrera Bello had birdied the third for the fourth time of the week and when Brazel bogeyed the sixth after finding the sand, the Spaniard led by two shots.
The leader bogeyed the seventh after going over the back of the green before a poor chip on the next resulted in a double, and when Brazel went over the back of the ninth for a bogey, it was Willett who led after making birdies on the fourth, sixth, seventh, 12th and 13th.
Dodt had opened with a bogey but turned in 34 after birdies on the fourth, sixth – courtesy of a lengthy putt – and ninth, while Lipsky had a single birdie on the seventh after a stunning approach to turn in 33.
Fleetwood recovered from a double-bogey on the third with birdies on the seventh and ninth and when Willett dropped a shot on the 17th, there was a six-way tie for the lead at nine under.
Dodt broke out of the pack with a birdie on the 12th but he was not alone for long as Cabrera Bello drove the tenth, Brazel holed from eight feet on the 11th and Lipsky put his tee-shot to the 12th to four feet.
Brazel was the next man to hit the front when he put his tee-shot on the 12th to tap-in range but Dodt splashed out of a bunker to birdie the 14th and Lipsky hit another brilliant iron into the 13th.
Brazel was looking cool and calm, rolling in a 30-footer on the 13th to get to 12 under and, while Dodt joined him with a gain on the 17th, the two-time winner dropped a shot on the last.
Cabrera Bello had been out of sorts but he rolled in from the fringe on the 16th and when he made a 15-footer on the 17th, he and Brazel were back where they began the day, tied at the top.
Birdies at the 15th and 17th got Fleetwood to 11 under before playing partner Lipsky found the water on the 18th and all attention turned back to the final group and Brazel’s big finish.
Paul Waring was at eight under, a shot ahead of Danny Chia and Pablo Larrazábal, with Jorge Campillo, Marcus Fraser, Jbe Kruger and Jason Scrivener rounding out the top ten at six under.