Respect. That's what 22-year-old Englishman Nick Dougherty earned yesterday when he crushed boyhood heroes Colin Montgomerie and Thomas Bjorn at Laguna National in Singapore. And the not-so-small matter of his first European Tour victory and US$166,000. Dougherty, dubbed 'Little Nick' because he is a Nick Faldo protege, had long been touted as the next big thing out of England. But his desire to party long and hard played havoc with his golf game. 'I had to earn the respect back because I spent three years playing like an average player,' he said after his five-stroke victory over Montgomerie and late-charging Dutchman Maarten Lafeber. 'It's taken me a while to get here. I hope it's the start of many great things to come. 'I'm shell-shocked. Five shots is pretty special ... and beating Monty and Thomas,' said the charismatic Dougherty, who finished with a five-under-par 67 for an 18-under 270 total. 'It was great fun. Colin is an awesome competitor. His record speaks for itself. And Thomas said some things that I will remember for the rest of my life.' Bjorn, of Denmark, double bogeyed the 17th to fall back to fourth place at 11 under. Dougherty can now start believing his own hype. One of the first calls he made was to his father Roger, who was highly critical of his son during his wild days. 'Dad said I was always believing my own press,' said Dougherty. 'Golf is really good fun to play again. It wasn't last year - I made it more difficult than it was. I have been rejuvenated. I have a great team around me and I feel I can relax into my game now. I can't express to you how the mental side of my game has changed and it has made a massive difference. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the season because the first couple of years were pretty miserable, now it is the best thing on the planet.' Dougherty had survived the pressure of playing with Montgomerie and Bjorn the day before and a text from six-time Major winner Faldo overnight helped him focus for yesterday's shootout. 'Nick said visualise each shot and be determined with every action you take. It was a good feeling knowing he was keeping an eye on me.' And others were also keeping an eye on him - the golfing gods. Dougherty, whose two-shot overnight lead was cut to one by Montgomerie at the 15th hole, was in danger of losing it when his drive headed into a bunker at the 16th. But it came to rest on a collar of grass and a local rule allowed a free drop because his shot would have been impeded by a wooden sleeper. Dougherty then pitched to three feet and made the birdie putt, while Montgomerie three-putted and the lead became three shots. Crowd favourite Dougherty showed no nerves at the par-three 17th, allowing him to soak up the wild applause as he walked down the 18th. And he put the icing on the cake with another birdie, while Montgomerie had to swallow the injustice of another bogey. 'I got a lucky break on 16 and I'm sure Colin wasn't too pleased with it,' Dougherty said. 'I took the break and made birdie. But I could have hit the green from where it was anyway. I'm sure it was a psychological blow for Colin. You know this game, how many times the rules turn you over. It makes a change that I benefited from it.' Montgomerie said the ruling was the turning point. 'I'm one behind, I'm in the middle of the fairway and he's up the face of the bunker. Next minute he's three feet away. That's the rules I suppose,' said the 41-year-old, who finished with a two-under 70. 'It was never going to be my day. Nick played well. He did very well for someone to play like that to win his first tournament. Good luck to him.' Lafeber's birdie-birdie finish for a 69 gave him a share of second, aided by Montgomerie's travails. 'I'm delighted with my form,' said Lafeber, who missed six months last year because of elbow problems. 'I'm so happy to be fit again and playing without any pain. And my day got even better when Monty bogeyed the last.' That was worth an extra US$24,000. The TCL Classic, China's first US$1 million event when held in 2002, will reappear on the Asian and European tours this year. It was not held in the past two years, but sources said yesterday it would make its return at the Yalong Bay Golf Club on Hainan Island on March 17-20. Montgomerie would defend his title, the sources said.