Sunday, 11 December 2016
Rafa Cabrera Bello  (Getty Images)
Rafa Cabrera Bello (Getty Images)

Rafa Cabrera Bello, Andrew Dodt, Tommy Fleetwood and David Lipsky all came within touching distance of winning the UBS Hong Kong Open as the European Tour brought down the curtain on 2016 in dramatic fashion.

All four players held a share of the lead on the back nine before a hat-trick of birdies from the 11th and a stunning gain on the last handed the title to Sam Brazel at Hong Kong Golf Club.

A Danny Willett bogey on the 17th meant there was a six-way tie for the lead at nine under and while Brazel kept applying the pressure with birdies, Lipsky and Dodt kept hitting back before they both bogeyed the 18th to end their chances.

Fleetwood birdied the 15th and 17th to apply more pressure and birdies on the 16th and 17th meant that Cabrera Bello stood on the last tee with a share of the lead.

In the end, Brazel's approach to eight feet on the 18th handed him the title by one shot from Cabrera Bello, with Fleetwood and Dodt two back and Lipsky a further shot adrift.

All four men contributed to a showstopping end to the year and while Cabrera Bello was naturally disappointed to be beaten at the last, he was quick to praise Brazel.

"If you look at it overall, it's a great week finishing second," he said. "Just a little disappointed today. I managed to start good again but then struggled halfway through the front nine.

"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.

Sam has played solid golf and been very patient and shown lots of maturity. He's a well-deserved winner - Rafa Cabrera Bello

"Sam has played solid golf and been very patient and shown lots of maturity. He's a well-deserved winner."

For Dodt, it was a second top five finish of the new season after coming second at last week's Australian PGA Championship and he was happy to maintain his momentum.

"It's been a really solid week," he said. "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.

"I wanted to get off to a good start. That was the goal, to put 2016 season behind me. It wasn't my best. I wanted to hit the ground running at the PGA and I followed it on up here."

A closing 68 meant Fleetwood has been under par in 38 of his last 39 rounds, and he was happy with his effort after battling back from a double-bogey on the third.

"Today was more of a battle than I wanted it to be," he said. "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."

Putting his second to the last in the water ended Lipsky's chances of finishing the year with a win but the American insists he has no regrets about being aggressive down the stretch.

"I knew I had to try to make a birdie there to give myself a chance," he said. "I had to take it on. You don't get too many opportunities like that. Unfortunately this time it didn't work out for me but hopefully they pan out in the future."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1BRAZEL, SamAUS18-13
T3DODT, AndrewAUS18-11
5LIPSKY, DavidUSA18-10
6WILLETT, DannyENG18-9

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