KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – American Ben Crane won the inaugural Asia Pacific Classic on Sunday, eagling the par-4 15th and making an 8-foot birdie putt on the final hole to beat England’s Brian Davis by a stroke.
Crane closed with a 2-under 69 at The Mines Resort to finish at 18 under and earned $1 million in the first PGA Tour-sanctioned event in Southeast Asia.
Davis shot a 66, finishing birdie-eagle-birdie.
England’s Luke Donald (67), who shared the lead until a costly triple bogey on nine, tied for third with Scotland’s Martin Laird (66) at 16 under. Robert Allenby (64), Ernie Els (66), Rickie Fowler (67), D.J. Trahan (68), Ryan Moore (69) and Mardan Mamat (69) followed at 14 under.
After making three straight bogeys to fall a stroke behind Laird, Crane drove the green on the 15th and holed his 8-foot eagle putt to regain the lead. Davis pulled even with his closing birdie, but Crane avoided a playoff with his winning birdie.
The slow-playing Crane won the Farmers Insurance Open in January at Torrey Pines for his third career PGA Tour victory. The win Sunday in the 40-player event – also sanctioned by the Asian Tour – doesn’t count as an official PGA Tour victory.
“I had a great opportunity with that putt (on 18) which I’ll always remember. I was so nervous and I was just praying. I just wanted to hit a good putt and to see it go into the hole. It felt so good,” said Crane.
“I just regrouped (after 12) and didn’t get ahead of myself. I knew I was still in the tournament. I hit an unbelievable shot on 15 with my driver and that kind of turned things around. It was an exciting turnaround. That was an unbelievable finish,” he said.
Davis tipped his cap to the champion at the end of the day.
“I played good all week and kept myself in the hunt. Finished strong but it just quite wasn’t good enough. I am quite disappointed,” said the Englishman, who is still searching for a first PGA Tour victory.
“I missed a short putt on the par four 15th (for bogey) which was a big error there. But I managed to dig deep for birdie, eagle, birdie finish and thought it might be good enough to get me into a playoff. But congratulations to Ben. Hopefully I’ll get my turn next time,” he said.
Singapore’s Mardan made it a 43rd birthday to remember by picking up $237,500, the biggest payday of his career. “It’s a good birthday gift but I’m a bit disappointed with my putting. I couldn’t hole any putts but I was solid from tee-to-green,” said Mardan, winner of two Asian Tour titles.