Honma Hong Kong Open

As it happened: Australia's Sam Brazel wins dramatic Hong Kong Open

Follow the action from the US$2 million event from Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 December, 2016, 9:20am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 December, 2016, 6:02pm

Live Leaderboard

Unknown journeyman Sam Brazel shows nerves of steel in stunning Hong Kong Open win

Asian Order of Merit winner Scott Hend rewards best season of his career with extra gym sessions


And there was plenty of fans to see it. 15,325 fans here today for a record total of 46,728 for the four days.

Few tears from Sam Brazel in the press conference when asked about what it will mean for his family after he lost his partner unexpectedly in 2009 from bacterial meningitis while on an overseas holiday.


Also means a seventh place finish on the Asian Tour order of merit for 2016, with this the last event of the year. 

European Tour card is techncially for three years. He gets 2017 (this is part of the 2017 season) plus two years after that. Opens a lot of doors. 


With this win....

• His first European Tour International Schedule victory in his 17th European Tour event.

• Could move to into the top 150 of the Official World Golf Ranking from 480th.

• This victory beats his previous best European Tour finish of tied 11th in the 2015 True Thailand Classic presented by Black Mountain.

• This victory beats his previous best 2017 European Tour performance of tied 15th in the Australian PGA Championship.

• Becomes the second first-time winner of the 2017 season. They are: Harold Varner III (Australian PGA Championship) and Sam Brazel (UBS Hong Kong Open).

• Victory comes in his third appearance in the UBS Hong Kong Open.

• This victory becomes his previous best finish in the UBS Hong Kong Open of tied 18th in 2015.

• Follows Fredrik Jacobson (2003), José Manuel Lara (2007), Lin Wen-tang (2009 – Nov 08) and Scott Hend (2014 – Oct 14), as players making the UBS Hong Kong Open their first European Tour title, since the event became part of the European Tour in 2002.

• This victory extends Australia’s run of consecutive winning years on the European Tour to five, dating back to the 2013 season.

• Becomes the first Australian to win the UBS Hong Kong Open since Scott Hend in October 2014.

• Becomes the second Australian to win the UBS Hong Kong Open since the event became part of the European Tour in the 2002 season.

• The seventh Australian victory on the European Tour since the start of December 2015.

• The sixth Australian victory in the calendar year of 2016 on the European Tour.

• Becomes the 126th Australian victory in European Tour history.

• Becomes the 43rd different Australian to win on the European Tour.

• Gains a two year European Tour exemption should he take up European Tour Membership.


One of the most humble champions you will evet meet. He is in to face the media and can't keep his eyes off the trophy sat next to him and is amazed he has added his name to the list of former winners. Says this is the first four round tournament he has ever won. 


Rafa Cabrera Bello: "Well, obviously the week if you look at it overall, it's a great week, finishing second. Just a little disappointed today. I managed to start good again but then struggled halfway through the front nine. Battled back really hard again, same as yesterday. But then Sam just played a fantastic 18th hole.

"Obviously still proud. I messed up a little obviously on seven and eight, but stayed calm and waited for my chances. Gave myself lots of opportunities. Some didn't fall, but at the end, 16 and 17, they were two great putts that did go in. The one on 18th, almost, as well. In the end, it's a good week. It's just a bitter taste finishing runner-up."

Andrew Dodt: "It's been a really solid week. I followed on where I left off from last week. Made a lot of birdies. Made a few mistakes, which you're going to do around here. But today early on, there were a lot of key moments. It could have easily gone the wrong way early. I holed some good putts for pars, and just hung in there. Then holed some big putts for birdie, which sort of kick started the round and I got going."

Tommy Fleetwood: "Today was more of a battle than I wanted it to be. I had four drivers and today I hit three sort of dodgy shots and one of them was the third, made double. From there it was a scrap. But still happy with myself in the end for the way we handled it and the way we played and the way we battled out there. It was great really. Couldn't ask for much more. Always comes down to the last times and that putt, I thought - I really did think that was going to break in. But yeah, really good week."


Lenghty presentation process, but world number 480 Sam Brazel won't care one bit. He has beaten a field that includes the current world number eight, the Masters champion and the Olympic Games gold medallist. 



Great scenes. Sam Brazel's caddy Mohammed Sahfri from Malaysia can't enjoy it too much as he has a flight to catch. 





That will be enough to claim a top 10 finish on the Asian Tour order of merit having earned less then US$100,000 in 17 Asian Tour events this year. Not enough to catch money list winner Scott Hend, but he is happy for his compatriot. 


What a finish. Edge of the seat stuff for the whole day. That's the biggest win of Brazel's career as he claims the cheque for US$333,330 and the Hong Kong Open trophy.


Rafa Cabrera Bello, Andrew Dodt, Tommy Fleetwood and David Lipsky all played their part in another thriller. 

Masters champion Danny Willett takes sixth place overall. 




Nerves of steel from the Australian. He is mobbed on the green by a group including compatriot Scott Hend. 

Final round of 68 and a -13 total. Rafa Cabrera Bello falls narrowly short of the wire-to-wire victory as his 69 is only enough for second. 

Australia's Andrew Dodt is third alongside England's Tommy Fleetwood. 


It's on the way from Rafa down the hill, but it's two inches to the left.

Sam Brazel has an eight foot putt for the Hong Kong Open title. 


What a shot from Sam Brazel. He has eight feet for a birdie. 

Pressure will be on Rafa Cabrera Bello as he plays his second to the back left and he has 15 feet for his. 

It will be the Spainiard to play first as the players walk onto the final green. 


Reminder, just the one birdie at the last all day from Prom Meesawat. Rafa and Sam are off the tee and heading down. 

Tommy Fleetwood signs for a 68 after just missing a birdie chance at 18. He is at -11 and can't believe it didn't drop. 

David Lipsky saves a bogey and signs for 68. 

It's matchplay from here between Rafa Cabrera Bello and Sam Brazel for the title. This is the true risk/reward hole. Who dares wins ...


Four players left on the course. All with a chance to win. 

Sam Brazel is first to go on the 17th green...and it rolls just past the left edge. But he is all smiles as he heads to the final tee box. 

Rafa Cabrera Bello wants this. Nails a birdie putt on 17 and he heads off to the last tied for the lead with his playing partner. 


Further ahead, disaster for David Lipsky as he finds water at the last. Told you the 18th would be tough. 


Andrew Dodt misses the par putt and it's a 66 for an -11 total. He drops back to a tie for second. 

The leaders are playing into the 17th. This is there last chance for a birdie. 


David Lipsky joins the fun with a birdie at 17. Dodt and Brazel and one clear of the American,Cabrera Bello and Tommy Fleetwood. 

On 18, Dodt is up now he just needs the down from 20 feet from pin high. Not guaranteed by a long shot. 


Turns out OK for Dodt but he is forced to lay-up below the green at the 18th. Up and down for par would be useful from here. 

Cabrera Bello is not out of this. Holes a long putt at 16 and he is one back at -11. 


Andrew Dodt birdies 17 and joins Sam Brazel at -12 at the top. The pair are one clear of David Lipsky. Still just the one birdie all day at the last. 

But Dodt is wild off the 18th tee and will have to go hunting for his ball in the trees to the right. 


Just the 10 players left on the course now. Tommy Fleetwood has made his way back to -10 and is two back after a birdie at 15. 


It is as you were at the top. Brazel by one (four holes to play) from Andrew Dodt and David Lipsky (three holes to play). 


Very smart Justin. 


Three birdies in a row for Sam Brazel is he is the outright leader again. Andrew Dodt and David Lipsky second. One back to Rafa Cabrera Bello. 



Three-way tie for the lead. Birdies for Andrew Dodt at 14, David Lipsky at 13 after Sam Brazel's at 12. 


Looks like it won't be enough for Danny Willett this week but what a year for the Masters champion. 

Danny Willett: "We played good. Played nice and steady. Gave ourselves a few chances all day. We were a bit shocked when we came upon to 16 and saw what the scores had done. We did kind of what we had to do and shot four or five-under par and see what happens. Again, it's a tricky golf course and the wind is swirling a little bit. We had a few little switches in there that made it a little tricky which cost us a couple. But yeah, it was a good day's work and just have to wait and see. I think we'll be doing well to finish fourth or fifth or something. It be would nice if we could start the season off with a top five, would be really good. But I can't see it winning.

"First one of the season for 2017, last one of the year, so it's ready for feet up, and like I said, I don't think it's going to be good enough. But it's a nice way to start the 2017 season. We'll be back in Abu Dhabi. Four weeks off now, so yeah, get the feet up for a couple weeks, enjoy Christmas home with the family and maybe pick the clubs up sometime in January."



We have an outright leader. Sam Brazel posts back-to-back birdies to move back to level par for the day and -11 overall. Dodt, Lipsky and Cabrera Bello one back. 


Danny Willett can't convert from 30 feet. It's a tap in par for the Masters champion as he signs for a second 66 of the week, but a third round 71 will cost him. He is the clubhouse leader at -9 and will have to wait. 



Danny Willett finds sand off the tee at 18 and then hits his second to the back of the green. Huge putt for a birdie downhill towards the bunker and water beyond. Pin tucked front right and he is back left. 

It's now a four-way tie at the top at -10. Sam Brazel rolls in for birdie as Rafa Cabrera Bello misses his chance and they are tied with Andrew Dodt and David Lipsky. 



State of play. Andrew Dodt is -3 after 12 and Rafa Cabrera Bello is +1 after 10. The pair lead by one. 

Danny Willett is playing the last at -4 after 17. 


Maybe not. Willett bogeys 17 and drops to -9. At the same time Andrew Dodt and Rafa Cabrera Bello pick up birdies and jump to the top of the leaderboard. This is going to be fun. Try and keep up. 



Willett will need/want at least another shot in the bag over these last two holes, but he also won't want to throw it away. Just the one birdie at 18 so far today and plenty scores over par. The odd gain at 17 so that is the chance. 

It's a chasing pack of five right now at -9. Dodt, Lipsky, Fleetwood, Cabrera Bello and Brazel after all around the turn so plenty of golf left for them. Paul Waring in the clubhouse at -8. 


Cabrera Bello turns in +2. Brazel can't save par at nine and turns in +2 and it's Danny Willett the outriight leader. 


The Masters champion is -5 after 15 holes. 


Didn't Danny Willett win something earlier this year when the leader threw it all away? The Masters maybe? Wonder if Peter Willett is awake?


Big names Rose and Reed fail to fire at Hong Kong Open but hope to be back next year



Double-bogey for Rafa. He falls down to -9 overall and it's now Danny Willett and Sam Brazel who lead the Hong Kong Open. 

Willett is -5 after 14 and Brazel, who is playing with Rafa in the final group, is +1 after eight. 


It's another poor chip from Cabrera Bello at eight having fallen short of the green at the par three and his ball rolls down to the left side of the green. He is up in three so at least one shot going here. 


Rafa duffs his chip at the seventh and it leads to the first bogey of the day for the leader. Willett and Brazel are now one back. 

Paul Waring is the clubhouse leader after a 65 takes him to -8 overall. 


Danny Willett is flying. Back-to-back birdies for the Masters champion to join Brazel two back. But will his third round 71 hurt him? Willett has fives holes to play, while the last group have only played six. He is -5 for the round. 


Cabrera Bello makes a nice putt to save par at six, and as Brazel misses, he has a two shot lead. Willett three back, but just the one behind Brazel. 



With the leaders taking their time, Danny Willett is closing. The Masters champion is -4 after 12 and now three back. 


Rafa leaves a birdie chance short at five, while it's a par for Brazel. Another three shots back to six players tied for third place.


Cabrera Bello keeps his one shot lead over Brazel as the pair par the fourth. 

Congratulations to Scott Hend, who is the Asian Tour order of merit winner for 2016 as fellow Australian Marcus Fraser signs for a 66. Fraser needed to win this week to deny Hend, and while he could still do that it is unlikley and Hend will top the money list for the first time. Hend is back with a 74 but it's still been a great year on tour for the Aussie. 


In contrast to his playing partner, Cabrera Bello has claimed over US$2m this year alone having finished third at the WGC-Dell Match Play and also second at Dubai Desert Classic and Qatar Masters. 


Birdie for Rafa at the third. Huge drive, into the bunker with his second, but up and down in two for a four and he moves into a one shot lead as Brazel makes it par-par-par to start. He is three clear of Paul Waring, Danny Willett, Jason Scrivener and David Lipsky. 



Sam Brazel has won less then US$100,000 in 17 Asian Tour events this year. The fourth place prize here is US$100,000 alone. 

He enjoyed his best season in 2015 highlighted by a fourth place result at The World Classic Championship at Laguna National in Singapore. It helped him to a 13th place finish on the order of merit for his career’s best in Asia. Also posted two other top-10s and played his way into contention on several occasions. In 2014 he finished tied fourth at the Chiangmai Golf Classic presented by PTT.

Brazel was diagosed with a health condition which revolves around body degeneration in 2011, but he has said: “It will be an ongoing issue for me but it is maintainable and manageable." He also lost his partner unexpectedly in 2009 from bacterial meningitis while on an overseas holiday.

On the course, that's a double-bogey seven for Tommy Fleetwood at the third. Soon after Cabrera Bello finds a greenside bunker at the same hole. The leaders are giving the chasing pack hope, and Paul Waring is up to a tie for third at -8 after playing his first 15 holes in -5. 



Cabrera Bello misses a birdie chance from 20 feet at the second, while Brazel scrambles for another par, and it remains a two shot lead for the pair with Fleetwood also level after two. 


Peter Uihlein with his first par of the day at the EIGHTH. Yes that's right. -3 after eight for the American with five birdies. 



After all that, it's as you were. Par each for the leaders. Howell, Lipsky and Fleetwood are level after two, with Dodt -1. 


Back-to-back birdies for Danny Willett as he rolls in a putt from 20 feet at seven and the Masters champion is -3 for the day and four back of the leaders. 

Sam Brazel gets his ball back onto the fairway at the first, while Rafa is eyeing the green in two. 


Sam Brazel and Rafa Cabrera Bello are making their way down the first fairway.


Fetching yellow hat for Rafa, who had the honour and opened with a nice drive down the middle. Brazel, with a white hat in contrast, is less happy and goes left into the longer stuff. 


David Lipsky and Tommy Fleetwood are off. Now just waiting for Rafa Cabrera Bello and Sam Brazel and things will start to get interesting. 

Spain's Carlos Pigem -4 after 13 after and up to -7 overall. Four back of the leaders. 

David Howell starts with a par at the first, but it's a bogey for Andrew Dodt. 


That's David Howell and Andrew Dodt away. Just two flights to get out on the course. 

Danny Willett is five holes in and -1 to take him to -6. He will need a bit more on the front nine to stand a chance with the back nine playing very tough indeed. 

Patrick Reed ends the week at -1 after a 69 today from the American. Nice bloke (if you ignore that Ryder Cup win). 

Ian Poulter is happy to be heading home. Answers questions from the media this time, but uses only two words to answer two questions. Very efficient. 


So, the leaders are off in about 20 minutes. Who will take home the trophy today and the US$333,330 first prize?

Rafa Cabrera Bello - two clear alongside Sam Brazel, but since the Hong Kong Open became a European Tour event in 2002, we have never had a wire-to-wire winner? The world number 33 has also not won since the 2012 Dubai Desert Classic. 

Sam Brazel - The world number 480 is without a notable win in his career. Can he handle playing in the final group?

Tommy Fleetwood - Englishman had had four top-20 finishes in the second half of the year having toiled away in 2015. Hearing a few shouts for him to claim a first win since the 2013 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles. He will have to first make up that two shot defecit. 

Danny Willett - Can you really rule out the Masters champion who starts the day five back?



Looking at the early scores, we can expect some birdies on the front nine to get the juices flowing, but the back nine is playing very tough. Last five holes are not giving up much at all. 

If you are heading to the course today, check out the spectator village at some point. Plenty to do. 


Rafa Cabrera Bello is well into his routine before his 12:32 tee time ...

As is David Howell. 



Macus Fraser might be giving Scott Hend a worry. Fraser needs to win this week to deny Hend the Asian Tour order of merit title and the Australian is up to a tie for eighth after playing his first 11 holes in -4. He is still a lony way back of the leaders who are out in about 45 minutes, but with Hend needing to finish at least 13th to stop his compatriot if he wins he is currently +1 for the day and tied for 42nd. 

Spain's Pep Angles signs for a 64 to finish at -5 overall. Five pars to finish for him. 

Ian Poulter's day is finally over. +4 fourth round for a +5 total and he is currenlty tied for 63rd with only Marcus Armitage +8 overall worse off. 


And confirmed, you want a couple of shots in hand heading down the last as you are taking your life in your hands attacking this pin. Remember Robert Karlsson in 2007? Miguel Angel Jimenez was also embrassed to take home the trophy after the Swede threw it away at the last. 



The leading player are now at the course and going through their routines ... last group is off at 12:32.

Rafa is in a relaxed mood, looking for more from rounds one and two over round three as he chases a first win since 2012. 

More of the same for David Howell. Course record-equalling 63 yesterday. Using a laser to line up his putts on the putting green today. 

Rafa is up to 33rd in the world rankings after a stellar year of Ryder Cup, Olympic Games and World Cup of Golf ... now all he needs is a win. 


Angles remains at -6 for the day, with Bourdy back up to -5. 

Justin Rose-2 after 11, while Ian Poulter's nightmare is almost over as he has three holes to play of a round which is currnelty at +3. 


That quadruple bogey on Friday is still on Ian Poulter's mind it seems, the course isn't playing too bad ...Spain's Pep Angles is -6 after 13 having started the day +1. 

Gregory Bourdy back to -4 for the day, but still going well for the 2010 champion. 


He might not be now after dropping to second last at +5 overall following a fourth dropped shot of the day, but Ian Poulter was in a good mood at the start of the week ...



Talk of tough pin positions today. Well it is a Sunday. There does look like a couple of nasty ones tucked away and if you need something at the last, there isn't much to work with and you will need to clear the pond and bunkers at the front if you want to attack the pin. Bring it on. 


If you are heading to the course early, there are plenty of players to check in on before the leading groups hit the first tee. 

American Patrick Reed is -2 after eight, defending champion Justin Rose is -1 after five, four-time winner Miguel Angel Jimenez is +3 after seven and Ian Poulter is +3 after nine. All are too far back to challenge for the trophy, but worth a look this morning.

It seems Mr Poulter was a little unhappy with David Howell's 63 yesterday being listed as a course record. To clarify it does equal the mark set by Chris Wood in 2012 and Lucas Bjerregaard last year, but the record is also debated around these parts as the composite course can change with different holes used each year, thefore technically creating a new course and therefore a new record. 

Plus Poulter's -10 in 2010 was under preferred lies (a term that means that a player is allowed to improve the lie of their ball without penalty on closely mown areas of a golf course meaning the fairway in bad weather usually rain). 



Another perfect day at Hong Kong Golf Club and Frenchman Gregory Bourdy is taking full advantage. The former champion is -5 after seven. Pep Angles is -4 at the turn, meaning we could be in for a birdie-fest this afternoon when the leading groups head out after midday. 

Who is still in the hunt? Masters champion Danny Willett is lurking at -5 and six back? Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee is at -6?



To get us all in the mood, let's review the state of play ...

It’s Ryder Cup star versus the unknown journeyman at Hong Kong Open as Cabrera Bello and Brazel face off in final round

Fleetwood hits the highlight reel at UBS Hong Kong Open

Justin Rose finally fighting fit at Hong Kong Open – but too late to retain his title

David Howell equals course record to shoot up 46 places at Hong Kong Open

Good morning and welcome back to the final day of the 2016 Hong Kong Open. If yesterday was anything to go by, we are set for another thriller.

Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello and Australia’s Sam Brazel lead by two shot from England’s Tommy Fleetwood, with David Lipsky a further shot off the pace.

David Howell’s course record-equalling third round has the Englishman tied for fifth at seven-under-par alongside Australia’s Andrew Dodt and South Africa’s Justin Walters and four off the pace.

Looking down the draw sheet, here are some names to look out for today -

11:15 Danny Willett/Peter Uihlein

12:14 Andrew Dodt/David Howell

12:23 Tommy Fleetwood/David Lipsky

12:32 Rafa Cabrera Bello/Sam Brazel