HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - C.T. Pan almost didn’t come to Hilton Head Island this week.
He was hosting a junior golf tournament in Houston this weekend, his first as a host. Even more special to Pan, ten girls from his native Taiwan were coming over to compete.
Pan wanted to be there. But his wife convinced him to compete at the RBC Heritage, assuring him she could handle it.
Now he’s the champion at Harbour Town.
“Just listen to your wife and you will have a good life,” he laughs. “She’s right, always.”
Pan (-12) fired a final round 66 to win the 51st RBC Heritage by one shot over 2014 tournament champion Matt Kuchar. It’s his first PGA Tour victory in 79 career starts.
“I’ve been working so hard for this moment, and it finally comes true for me,” he says. "I’m just going through a lot of emotions right now.”
The former University of Washington Husky entered the day trailing leader Dustin Johnson by three shots, but snuck his way up the leaderboard on a day that saw multiple changes at the top.
Pan carded four birdies through his first 12 holes, and didn’t have a bogey until 15. But he bounced right back from it with a birdie on 16 to take the lead for good.
On 17, he got up and down from the greenside bunker for par. Then he just missed a birdie on 18 that would have given him a commanding two shot lead.
Kuchar birdied 18 two groups ahead of Pan to get to -11 to force the issue. But Pan’s win was sealed when Patrick Cantlay’s birdie chip rolled past the hole.
“I told myself I needed to make two birdies coming in after 15, which I almost did. I almost made that birdie on 18,” he says. "But I’m just happy it was good enough to get the W.”
Pan is just the second player from Taiwan to win on the PGA Tour. The last was T.C. Chen at the 1987 Genesis Open. Now he joins a fraternity of tartan-clad champs such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Tom Watson.
“I’ve seen 70 winners since I’ve been on Tour. I just kept dreaming that one day it would be me, and this day does come true," Pan says. "To put my name with the great names in the history, it’s the greatest honor I’ve ever had.”
Making Pan’s day even better, one of the girls from Taiwan won his event in Houston. Seems Pan’s wife knew just what was up.
“Probably the best weekend of my life,” Pan says.