Abraham Ancer won the Asian Tour’s PIF Saudi International after firing a final round 68 at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club to finish on 19 under and beat American Cameron Young by two shots.
The 31-year-old Mexican, who plays on the LIV Golf Series, led from the first round and conducted a masterclass in front running at the Asian Tour’s season-opening $5m event, to add the title to the other significant victory of his career, the 2021 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
Young also returned a closing 68, while Australian Lucas Herbert carded a 65 to finish third, two shots further back. Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana re-iterated his position as one of the Asian Tour’s most exciting young players when he fired a 66 to secure fourth, another stroke behind.
“That was my first ever wire-to-wire win,” said Ancer. “I just didn’t think about where I was on the leaderboard. I played really well in the first round, and I just felt like I wanted to keep that momentum going. So I’m really happy with my frame of mind during these four rounds.”
Ancer led by two from Young at the start of the day and was caught by the American on the seventh but by the turn he had moved one ahead. A closely fought contest was then expect over the closing holes but surprisingly Young made a bogey on the par-four 13th, where he found the water with his approach shot, before he made Ancer’s life much easier when he doubled the par-four 15th, after he chipped short and three putted.
It meant Ancer was four ahead with three to play and while Young rallied with birdies on 16 and 18 it was not enough to stop the Asian Tour witnessing only its second ever Mexican winner, after Carlos Espinosa’s success in the 1995 Canlubang Classic in the Philippines.
Ancer, who took part in the Asian Tour event because he is banned from competing on the PGA Tour after defecting to LIV Golf, banked the $1 million first prize. He is currently 37th in the world rankings, having dropped from a career high 11th last year shortly before he joined LIV Golf, whose events currently attract no world ranking points.
Runner-up Young, who normally competes on the PGA Tour, has now recorded eight top-three finishes since last year, which includes finishing second in The Open and joint third in the PGA Championship. The world no.17 said: “It’s disappointing [not to win], but I think I played pretty well this week, and I’m playing a bunch the next few weeks, so I think I’m in a nice place moving forward. Abraham played some really nice golf. He just didn’t make really any mistakes. I think he made two bogeys the whole week, and with the wind blowing as hard as it was, that’s firstly, tremendous control of your golf ball, and secondly, shows a lot of mental toughness, so all credit to him.”