Saturday, June 23, 2018
Sports

Curtis wins first since '06

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Ben Curtis won the Texas Open on Sunday for his first PGA Tour title since 2006, holding off Matt Every and John Huh in a tense back-nine finish for a two-stroke victory.

Curtis birdied the par-5 18th for par 72 and a total of 9-under 279. It was a redeeming, emotional win for the 2003 British Open winner, whose long slump relegated him to a tour status so low that the victory came in only the fourth event he got into this year.

Curtis calmly hugged his caddie after coolly sinking the clinching 12-footer but fought back tears moments later while being interviewed.

"It's been a tough couple years just fighting through it," Curtis said softly and haltingly, after pausing for a few seconds to compose himself.

Curtis, 34, whose last win was at the now-extinct 84 Lumber Classic, wasn't close to the tour record for time between wins. Robert Gamez went 15 years, six months, from the Nestle Invitational on March 25, 1900, to the Texas Open on Sept. 30, 2005.

Curtis won $1.116 million and a two-year tour exemption.

"You think you're just staying positive and not worried about it, but I think deep down, you realize all the hard work you put in that, you know, finally paid off," said Curtis, who led after the third round.

Huh roared back with 69, but the Mayakoba Classic winner fell just short of completing what would have been an impressive comeback.

Huh nearly withdrew Thursday when he plunged to 5 over through his first three holes and finished with 77. But he rebounded with rounds of 68 and 67.

Four blown putts from 9 feet or closer, including a 6-footer for birdie, kept Every (71) a stroke back until Curtis birdied No. 18.

It was nonetheless a validating week for the 28-year-old former Gator from Daytona Beach, whose only name recognition in three winless years on tour is mainly from a misdemeanor marijuana arrest as a rookie in 2010, which earned him a tour suspension.

"A little bummed out," Every said of his finish. "Kind of a pillow fight there for a while between the three of us."

Curtis wasn't the only emotional player on No. 18. Scott Piercy walked to the final hole tied for fourth at 5 under but walked off snapping his putter in half with two furious strikes over his knee. That was after the tour journeyman quadruple bogeyed, finishing the round at par and eight back.

Champions: David Frost and Michael Allen shot a better-ball 10-under 62 for 29-under 187 and a one-stroke win over John Cook and Joey Sindelar in the Legends of Golf at Savannah, Ga. Three teams tied for third at 27 under: Andy Bean and Chien Soon Lu (62), Jeff Sluman and Brad Faxon (63), and Tom Purtzer and Brad Bryant (64). Allen won the 2009 Senior PGA Championship, then went winless in 40 consecutive events until winning the Encompass Insurance Pro-Am at TPC Tampa Bay last week. "I've never won two real tournaments in a row in my life," he said. "Now I know my kids will jump all over me and tell me how great I am."

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