Henri Schoeman was in prime position to overtake Super League Triathlon series overall leader Vincent Luis on day one of the Singapore finale, where doubles points were on offer.
Yesterday, Luis was out of the eliminator race (300m swim, 5km bike ride and 2km run) after puncturing his rear tyre in the first round while Schoeman led in the third and final round for the top 10 - until the last lap.
He fell to fourth after a botched attempt to break away and Jonathan Brownlee seized his chance for his first win of the series this season at One°15 Marina.
"I put in a lot of effort to try and break away by myself and maybe that was a mistake," said 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Schoeman, who trailed Luis (75 points) by 12 coming into the finale. "It is what it is and I gave everything."
Canadian Tyler Mislawchuk and Hayden Wilde of New Zealand were second and third respectively.
Brownlee, the 2016 Olympic silver medallist, admitted making it difficult for himself due to mistakes in the earlier rounds that cost him energy.
"But it shows what I can do with a couple of months of consistent training and there's no secret to this sport... I really wanted that last race," added the Briton.
"On the run I thought when I set off, that everyone looked very tired, and I thought, 'all right, I'm going to make them really hurt' and that's what I did."
The Frenchman Luis was visibly dejected, saying: "This flat just ruined everything. It's like four months of racing just gone in seconds. I think I lost 10 to 15 seconds so it was quite impossible to bridge... I did my best, I didn't want to give up but that's sport."
The overall positions will only be confirmed today, but the results of the top two athletes have left the men's field open, said organisers.
Brownlee, fourth overall entering the weekend, was unconcerned about how his win affected his overall position.
He said: "I haven't won a race for a long time, I haven't felt good in a race for a long time so it's nice to be here and be competitive.
"I enjoy racing at the front and winning, I enjoy trying to win and I enjoy being back in racing well."
Leader Katie Zaferes tightened her grip on the women's series when she won the race ahead of Cassandre Beaugrand of France and Australian Ashleigh Gentle.
Said American Zaferes: "I did a good job of being conservative but also making sure that I stayed engaged with the race."
The enduro race today features three continuous rounds, each comprising a 300m swim, a 5km bike ride and a 1.6km run. The two slowest athletes at the end of each discipline will be eliminated.