Australia’s Sam Brazel shocks with clutch victory at Hong Kong Open

The European Tour now awaits for Sam Brazel after a dramatic victory at the UBS Hong Kong Open

Australian Sam Brazel has won the UBS Hong Kong Open, and in doing so has drastically changed the course of his career.

The 37-year-old from Lismore birdied the final hole in spectacular fashion to beat Spain’s Rafa Cabrero-Bello by one shot. The victory at the European Tour and Asian Tour co-sanctioned Hong Kong Open was Brazel’s first professional victory and means he has earned himself a two year exemption on the European Tour.

Brazel said after the round that he has been playing well including a top-15 finish at the recent Australian PGA Championship and Taiwan Masters, but credited the victory to some new clubs

“It’s been a long time coming,” Brazel 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.”

Ranked 480th in the world coming into the event, Brazel has been playing his trade on the Asian Tour for the last three years and few expected the unheralded Australian to prevail. At one stage during the final round, six players sat in a tie for the lead with plenty more big names looking to take the trophy including Rafa Cabrero-Bello, Danny Willett, Andrew Dodt and Tommy Fleetwood.

But Brazel held firm and his approach to the last and subsequent birdie was as clutch as you’ll see. But he was quick to point out after the victory that his approach to the last wasn’t as sweet as it looked.

“I was very lucky. That wasn’t the greatest second shot in there but it ended up good and the rest is history.”

In other great news for Australian golf, Scott Hend was crowned the winner of the Asian Tour of Merit. Earning over US$1million finished the year with two victories and three top-10 finishes Hend became the first-ever Australian to win the prestigious title and will tee it up at next year’s Masters Tournament for the first time.

“It’s just a culmination of a lot of years on the Asian Tour and coming so close and not getting over the line; it’s finally nice to reach the top and grab the trophy,” Hend said.

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