Sam Brazel has been named the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Month for December following a dramatic triumph at the USB Hong Kong Open.
The 38-year-old Australian birdied the last hole at Hong Kong Golf Club to overcome Ryder Cup star Rafa Cabrera Bello by one shot. Remarkably, a final round 68 was his highest score of the week.
Brazel had entered the event, just his 17th appearance on the European Tour, ranked 480th in the Official World Golf Ranking. Despite having opened with impressive back to back rounds of 66, he entered the weekend three shots off the lead of Cabrera Bello.
The New South Wales player, however, stormed into a share of the third round lead courtesy of a three under par 67, before a nerve-wracking final day during which six players shared the lead at one point. Belying his relative European Tour inexperience, however, he holed a nerve-shredding eight-foot putt at the last for a closing birdie and a maiden title.
Brazel receives Hilton Honors Diamond Elite Status – the highest tier of the hotel’s renowned loyalty scheme – for winning the Golfer of the Month of the award, having beaten Brandon Stone and Harold Varner III to the accolade which is decided by a panel of respected golf journalists.
Upon receiving the award, Brazel said: “I'm delighted to be Hilton Golfer of the Month for December - what a great privilege.
“Hong Kong was such a thrill, to win there was fantastic and to receive this award just tops it off for me. It's been a real whirlwind since the victory.
“It was just a great week, I had a lot of fun - Hong Kong is such a great venue and it was quite a thrill to win. I’m really looking forward to the season ahead now.”
Brandon Stone finished runner-up after the young South African triumphed on home soil at the opening tournament of the 2017 season, the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
Harold Varner III was voted into third place after the American earned his maiden European Tour title at the Australian PGA Championship courtesy of a two-shot win over local favourite Andrew Dodt.
Iain Carter, BBC Golf Correspondent and Chairman of the Association of Golf Writers, said: “One of the beautiful things about professional golf is its ability to create new stars with very little warning.
“Sam’s emergence as a winner on the European Tour falls into that category and it is right to recognise someone who takes such opportunities when they create them. It could prove a springboard moment and we congratulate him on this award.
“Special mention must go to Brandon Stone, who continued to live up to his lofty reputation as one of South Africa’s rising stars with another home victory, and the first American winner in the European Tour’s 2017 season, Harold Varner III.”
Hilton, the Official Hotel Supplier to The European Tour, is the Official Sponsor of the European Tour Golfer of the Month award, which recognises and rewards the best performances of European Tour members each month.
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