Manila: Australian Marcus Both won an emotional two-shot victory at the Philippine Open on Sunday to seal an amazing comeback after a "hard road" of a year which saw him almost leaving the game.
Both, 35, sank a bogey on the last hole at the touchy Wack Wack Golf and Country Club course in a Manila suburb, giving him his third Asian Tour victory after winning the 2009 Cambodian Open and the 2003 Sanya Open in China.
He posted a two-under-par 70 for a winning total of six-under-par 282 at the end of the four-day, $300,000 tournament.
Both, who lost his Asian Tour card last season after a run of poor form and had to rely on a sponsor`s invitation this week, was almost speechless with joy after his victory.
"People say they haven`t seen me smile this much ever," he said. "The last 12 months have been really tough. I kind of feel some vindication in some ways for making the choices that I have," he added in comments supplied by the organisers.
"It was an emotional year on and off the golf course after I lost my Tour card... It was so bad that I even thought of quitting the game."
Winning did not come easy for Both, had to make a huge 20-foot birdie putt on 15 followed by a short birdie on 16 to win the top prize of $54,000.
"I hit my putt on 15th a bit too hard but it went in. I gave it a bit more speed than what I had intended to. Then I hit one of my best swings on 16 and the wind died when I needed it to. Those two holes gave me some momentum," he said.
Second place was a five-way tie at 284 between Bangladesh`s Siddikur Rahman, Australian Nathan Holman, Thailand`s Arnond Vongvanij and Antonio Lascuna and Jay Bayron, both of the Philippines.
"I was confident I could win this event but I didn`t putt too well on the second and third day. This is part of golf. This course is very challenging and you can mess up on any hole," said Rahman, who had taken an early lead on the first day.
Korean-American Chan Kim, who also took an early lead, ended tied for 10th place with a final-day score of 76 and a total of 287.
282 - Marcus Both (AUS) 70-66-76-70
284 - Siddikur Rahman (BAN) 66-73-76-69, Nathan Holman (AUS) 71-71-72-70, Antonio Lascuna (PHI) 74-71-69-70, Arnond Vongvanij (THA) 74-72-68-70, Jay Bayron (PHI) 71-72-69-72
285 - Hsieh Tung-shu (TPE) 77-68-70-70.
286 - Jazz Janewattananond (THA) 72-72-72-70, Wang Jeung-hun (KOR) 72-68-72-74.
287 - S.S.P Chowrasia (IND) 71-71-76-69, Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 70-75-71-71, Daisuke Kataoka (JPN) 71-75-70-71, Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 74-74-67-72, Chapchai Nirat (THA) 79-67-69-72, Chan Kim (USA) 66-72-73-76.