Kuala Lumpur: American Bo Van Pelt blitzed his way to an emphatic six-shot victory at the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic in Malaysia on Sunday, then revealed that he had once quit the game with burn-out.
It was only the second US PGA Tour title Van Pelt, 36, has won, and he pocketed a cool $1.3 million for his troubles. He went into the decisive day a shot ahead of Jeff Overton, who also hails from the US state of Indiana.
But Overton crumbled in the face of Van Pelt's flawless 64 that was embellished with seven birdies and stroke play of the highest order that led Overton to say it was "one of the best rounds of golf I've seen".
Van Pelt's triumph at the co-sanctioned US PGA Tour and Asian Tour showpiece at The Mines Resort & Golf Club in sweltering Kuala Lumpur nearly doubles his previous biggest pay day and comes two years after his first US PGA Tour win.
"I was in college, probably about 20 or 21, it just wasn't in my heart anymore," said Van Pelt, reflecting on the period more than a decade ago when he gave up the game. "I didn't want to put in the work anymore."
"I didn't pick up a club for over two months, then got the itch to start playing again and the rest is history," he added, attributing his state of mind at that time to burn-out and the impulse of youth.
"I had to give it up to realise how much I loved it. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to do this for a living."
A relaxed-looking Van Pelt took the title at the $6.1-million tournament in convincing fashion with a 23-under-par 261. Three consecutive birdies, on holes 13, 14 and 15, saw the unheralded Van Pelt power to victory.
The likeable Overton, who is still looking for his first US PGA Tour win, buckled in the crippling Malaysian heat. But it was still a good week overall for a man who was only a last-minute call-up to the tournament.
In front of the watching Malaysian king, Sultan Mizan, and in tricky conditions that alternated between ferocious sunshine, threatening cloud and a heavy shower, Overton finished second on 17-under 267 after carding a 69.
His challenge all but evaporated on the 13th, when he made bogey after he was forced to chip the ball out from behind a tree stump. He takes home a cheque of $550,000 for his second place.
It was a memorable day for another American, Ryan Palmer, who shot a hole-in-one on the seventh and finished tied 7th, together with rejuvenated former world number one Vijay Singh and Australia's John Senden.
Sweden's Fredrik Jacobson, seven shots off the leader, was third.
Americans Cameron Tringale and Mark Wilson, along with Camilo Villegas of Colombia, were in tied fourth.
Overton, who was able to muster a rueful grin for the packed gallery at the final hole, said: "I didn't play a great round, I played a solid round."
"I kind of had a couple of hiccups. He birdied some holes that I bogeyed and those were huge momentum shifters."
The victor, asked what he would do with his cheque of $1.3 million, said: "I've got three kids at home and they don't get any cheaper. I'll probably just stash it away for a rainy day."