Kajang, SELANGOR: Unheralded Brandon Lau mounted a late charge on the back-nine Friday to prevail at the Professional Golf Association of Malaysia (PGAM) Players' Championship presented by Maybank.
A shot back at the start of the final round, the Sabahan drained birdies on 14 and 16 followed by an outstanding eagle on the par-five 17 to post a closing four-under 68 at the Impian Golf & Country Club.
He totalled eight-under 280 to finish four shots clear of joint overnight leaders Amir Nazrin Jailani and Muhd Wafiyuddin Abdul Manaf, who could only manage identical 73s to settle for a share of second.
Kemarol Baharin (71) took sole possession of fourth on 285 while veteran Md Rashid Ismail was a further shot back despite a 74 in the RM200,000 tournament.
Lau was understandably still shocked after securing his maiden professional victory, which earned the 24-year-old a career-high payday of RM30,000.
"It hasn't sunk in at all. It still feels like a sweet dream. To be honest, I didn't get much sleep last night thinking about today. But fortunately once I was out there, I found my comfort zone. I just stuck to my own game, didn't bother too much about how the other guys were playing and neither was I leaderboard-watching," said Lau, who turned professional in 2015 after graduating from the Florida Institute of Technology in the United States.
After a regulation front nine 36, Lau fired up with a birdie on 10th but dropped a shot on the 13. He was peerless on the homeward stretch for a second day running as his rivals struggled to stay in touch.
"Just like yesterday, I really picked up steam on the back nine. Beginning of this year, I finished tied-fourth on this tract [at the PGM Sime Darby Impian Championship] after a poor finish. I guess you learn from those mistakes. I knew what I had to do and what I needed to avoid on the last few holes. I picked my targets, executed the shots and committed myself to the putts," added the long-hitter.
Hailing from a state that has produced Asian Tour winning talents such as Nicholas Fung and Ben Leong, Lau is eager to scale greater heights on the back of this title-winning performance.
"It has been a struggle but to finally get one over the line, I'm just so relieved and thankful. I grew up knowing Nicholas and just seeing where he is today has filled me with optimisim and that extra drive to succeed. I know I have it in me and this win is a sign that I'm on the right direction," shared Lau.
LEADING FINAL RESULTS (PAR-72)
280 - Brandon Lau 72-72-68-68
284 - Amir Nazrin Jailani 68-71-72-73, Muhd Wafiyuddin Abdul Manaf 71-73-67-73
285 - Kemarol Baharin 72-75-67-71
286 - Md Rashid Ismail 71-70-71-74
287 - Jeremiah Kim Leun Kwang 73-71-74-69, Farid Rashid 73-76-69-69, Lam Yu Shuen 72-71-74-70, Akhmal Tarmizee Nazari 74-73-68-72, Wilson Choo 71-73-70-73
288 - Shahriffuddin Ariffin 70-73-79-66
289 - Sukree Othman 72-74-74-69, Daeng Abdul Rahman Abdul Aziz 69-73-72-75