|Bo Van Pelt of the U.S. REUTERS/Ben Nelms
Bo Van Pelt stealthily moved up the leaderboard on Saturday, but on Sunday he took center stage and shined.
Van Pelt finished the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic Malaysia with an impressive seven-under 64, allowing him to cruise to a six-stroke victory at The Mines Resort & Golf Club.
It's Van Pelt's second career victory and first since the 2009 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee, and he did it by going bogey-free over the tournament's last 34 holes to finish at a tournament-record 23-under 261. He entered the day one shot ahead of Jeff Overton, but increased the lead to three by the fourth hole and six by the 14th.
"I played well all day, didn't make any bogeys," Van Pelt said in a televised interview. "Just tried to play my gameplan all week. (I) had a couple chances to win this year, didn't come out on top. (I) just wanted to learn from that and do a better job when I had the lead."
Van Pelt finally came through this year after five previous top-10 finishes in 2011. It was his fifth career 54-hole lead coming into the day, and he managed to overcome his previous scoring average of 75.75 in such situations.
"I take a lot of satisfaction in that," Van Pelt said of finally getting over the hump.
The performance made a distant runner-up of Overton (69), who will have to wait for another week to capture his first PGA Tour title. He's had several second place finishes to his name, but a title eludes him, and his 17-under 267 wasn't close to good enough to contend with Van Pelt.
Overton put himself in great position with his course-record 62 in Friday's second round, but shot only a combined four-under over the last two days to fall short. Still, it's the best finish of the year for Overton, a 2010 Ryder Cup participant.
Fredrik Jacobson (68) finished third at 16-under, while Cameron Tringale (64), Camilo Villegas (66) and Mark Wilson (69) shared fourth at 15-under 269.
Sunday, though, belonged to Van Pelt.
He began with only a one shot lead, and it remained that way over Overton after both players birdied the third. The lead started to swell at the fourth, however, when Van Pelt sank a 10-footer for birdie and Overton tripped to bogey to open up a three-shot advantage at 18-under.
Nearing the turn, Overton looked like he might climb back into the tournament with a five-foot birdie putt at the ninth, but Van Pelt was simply too much.
Both players birdied the par-five 11th, keeping the gap at two, and Van Pelt continued to surge during his back nine that featured five birdies overall. On both the 13th and 14th, Van Pelt hit his penultimate shot to within a foot and tapped in for birdie.
Overton, meanwhile, bogeyed the 12th and 13th, and the tournament was all but over at that point.
Van Pelt recorded birdies at 15 and 17 for good measure, ensuring that there would be no final round collapse this time around.
NOTES: Van Pelt finished one stroke shy of his personal best round of 63...Defending champion Ben Crane (69) finished in a share of 20th at 10- under...Vijay Singh (68) tied for seventh with John Senden (65) and Ryan Palmer (67) at 14-under...The next unofficial stop for the PGA Tour will be next week in China, where Francesco Molinari is expected to defend his title at the WGC - HSBC Champions.