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Curtis Wins for First Time in Six Years
Ben Curtis closed with an even-par 72 to log his first victory since the now-defunct 84 Lumber Classic in September 2006. The 34-year-old Ohioan ended up at 9-under 279 to win the Texas Open by two strokes.
Curtis, the unlikely 2003 British Open champion at Royal St. George's, carded three bogeys and three birdies - including one on the par-5 final hole at the difficult Greg Norman-designed AT&T Oaks course at TPC San Antonio, to seal the title, edging first-round leader Matt Every (71) and John Huh (69).
Curtis was visibly moved after his final putt - a 12-footer from above the hole - disappeared into the cup. ""It's been a tough couple of years," he said about the long period between victories.
"I tried to stay positive, that's all you can do." Curtis, who had limited status on the PGA Tour after finishing outside the top-125 on the money list in 2011. He then broke down, managing a teary hello to his two children back in Kent, Ohio.
Curtis's first outing in the Texas Open was successful beyond the $1.116 million he earned. It marked the fourth win of his career and the 500 points moved him to 28th in the season-long FedEx Cup points standings. It also gave him a two-year Tour exemption.
On Sunday, Every putt pressure on Curtis, who started the final round with a three-shot lead. After a bogey on the first, Every rattled off four birdies in the next five holes. But that was pretty much it for the 28-year-old Floridian, who could only manage pars and two bogeys the rest of the way.
After a bogey and a birdie to start his round, Huh, a native of New York who now lives in Los Angeles, carded seven straight pars to make the turn in even-par 36. On the back nine, however, the 21-year-old, who as a rookie logged his first victory on the PGA Tour in the Mayakoba Golf Classic in late February, birdied three of the first five holes to rise up the leaderboard. However, the former Cal State-Northridge player could only manage pars over the final four holes.
Defending champion Brendan Steele closed with a 5-under 67 to rise into a share of fourth at 5-under 283 with Bob Estes (69), Brian Gay (70) and South Korean Charlie Wi (71). Tied for eighth at 284 were Hunter Haas (67), Ryan Moore (69) and Cameron Tringale (71).
Playing on a sponsor's exemption, Dallas amateur Jordan Spieth made the cut and shot 72 and 75 over the weekend, finishing T-41 at 4-over 292. The 18-year-old is now ready to resume his college career as a University of Texas freshman. "I got a lot of confidence, got a little confidence boost in the tournament," he said.
"We have all our college stuff now. Our post-season, Big 12, national championships. I'm glad to be back and joining the team for that and then can't wait for summer; this summer, should be filled with quite a few tournaments."
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