KUALA LUMPUR — Pat Perez won the PGA Tour's CIMB Classic, claiming a four-shot victory over compatriot Keegan Bradley on Sunday at TPC Kuala Lumpur.
He sealed his first title in almost a year despite carding a modest three-under 69 in the final round, courtesy of a strong start with three birdies in the first four holes.
The 41-year-old only managed to make par on the back nine, but did enough to finish the tournament with a 24-under 264 to take home the $1.26 million prize purse and 500 FedEX Cup points.
Victory also earned him an automatic entry for next year's Masters in April.
Juvic Pagunsan had a closing 72 for a 287 total.
The Filipino golfer, a former top earner on the Asian Tour, had earlier rounds of 73-72-70 and wound up in joint 58th spot, still good for US$15,500 (around P790,000).
Pagunsan finished tied with Ryder Cup veterans Ian Poulter of England, who shot a closing 70, and Chad Campbell of the US, who had a final-round 69.
The shotmaker from Bacolod hit an impressive eagle on the par-4 No. 16, but also had two double bogeys — on Nos. 13 and 17, also par-4s.
Perez's feat comes after a long recovery from a shoulder injury last year that threatened to derail his career.
The bulky golfer admitted he never expected to reign supreme in the sweltering conditions in Kuala Lumpur.
"Unreal. I think I'm the last guy that expected to win this week, to be honest with you. I did not think I was going to win this week," Perez said. "I really can't explain it, it's been an amazing 12 months. I can't explain it, but I hope it continues."
Perez also confirmed he'll be back to defend his title next year.
"I'll be here every year. Every year of the tournament, I'll be here. It's been very good to me. The tournament's been fantastic," he said.
Bradley took home the runner-up spot after he carded an unblemished five-under 67 to finish at 20-under 268.
Xander Schauffele, who started the round in second place, faltered with four bogeys to finish tied-third alongside South Korea's Kang Sunghoon at 17 under.
Defending champion American Justin Thomas finished tied for 17th place.
Thomas had been in terrific form coming into the event, but failed to lift his game in his mission for a "three-peat."
"I was definitely low on gas. It's been a great but long year, for sure," Thomas said.