Sam Brazel's surprise win in Hong Kong is a heart-warming tale but defeat will hurt for Rafa Cabrera Bello

 
Sam Torrance
Follow Sam
UBS Hong Kong Open - Day Four
Cabrera Bello was chasing his first win since 2012 but fell short (Source: Getty)

For an illustration of the vagaries of golf you need look no further than the Hong Kong Open, where unheralded Australian Sam Brazel saw off some illustrious rivals to land the biggest win of his career on Sunday.

Brazel, a 37-year-old journeyman who started the week ranked 480th in the world and had never finished in the top 10 of a European Tour event before, emerged from a six-man fight that also featured Ryder Cup star Rafa Cabrera Bello and Masters champion Danny Willett to claim the top prize at Fanling.

A birdie at the last hole saw him pip Cabrera Bello by one shot, earn Brazel a two-year exemption on the tour – to go along with the €311,843 (£261,356) winners’ cheque – and hoist him into the world’s top 150.

Read more: Thomas Bjorn: Europe's young stars will reclaim Ryder Cup

It was a great week for Brazel, and a heart-warming turnaround in fortune following the tragic passing of his partner from bacterial meningitis in 2009.

UBS Hong Kong Open - Day Four
Brazel had not even finished top 10 in a European Tour event before winning in Hong Kong on Sunday (Source: Getty)

I’m a big admirer of Cabrera Bello and he has a beautiful game but he paid the price for a poor third round of 70, and it’s fair to say that the Spaniard is not a prolific winner.

He last won in 2012 and seems to have difficulty getting over the line. When up against players like Brazel he ought to beat them and I think he’ll be bitterly disappointed to have missed out this time.

There were encouraging signs for Tommy Fleetwood, who finished tied for third and has been showing form for a while now, and fellow Englishman Willett, who put in his best performance for some time two shots further back in sixth.

Seniors success for Lane and Broadhurst

In Mauritius, meanwhile, Barry Lane ended his own four-year wait for a win with a great victory in the final event of the European Senior Tour.

He has struggled at times with his putting but Lane has always been an excellent player – and a very popular one too.

Paul Broadhurst finished just one shot behind Lane as he was crowned Order of Merit winner at the end of his debut season on the tour.

It has been a spectacular year for Broadhurst, who not only won the Senior Open Championship in July but also went to the United States and triumphed at Pebble Beach two months later on the Champions Tour.

Finally, slightly belated congratulations to Phillip Price, part of the 2002 Ryder Cup-winning European team that I captained, for securing his Champions Tour full exemption for 2017 after coming through qualifying school in Florida last week.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

Related articles