EDS Byron Nelson Championship

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Tournament: EDS Byron Nelson Championship
Venue: TPC Four Seasons Resort, Cottonwood Valley GC
Winner: Scott Verplank

Scott Verplank won Lord Byron’s tournament with, he believes, an assist from above.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the stars lined up and I got a little help from upstairs,” Verplank said after clinching a one-stroke victory over Luke Donald at the £3.2million EDS Byron Nelson Championship.
“On the last hole, I walked off the tee and felt a cool breeze, and it wasn’t cool out there.”
Dallas-born Verplank was 17 when he first met Nelson, and his only regret is that the golfing great, who died seven months ago at the age of 94, was not present to witness the victory.
It was nonetheless a sweet moment for the 42-year-old, who rated his fifth PGA Tour victory by far the biggest of his career.
But Verplank, making his 21st appearance in the event, had to sweat to the very end to win, dodging a bullet when Donald missed a 10-foot birdie putt at the last, before somehow keeping his hands steady enough to sink his winning putt from just outside two feet.
“I’ve never been that light-headed and nervous and shaky over a putt in my life,” he continued. “I was really calm until I passed out of that two-footer. It was an out-of-body experience.
“The only thing that made it hard was it was to win and the greens were bumpy. I hit it hard enough and it went in, and then I looked up and said ‘thank you’.”
Verplank should also have thanked Donald, who led by three shots after six holes of the final round in ideal conditions at the Four Seasons TPC.
But Verplank charged to the front with five birdies in a sizzling eight-hole stretch, and he had some help from Donald, who double-bogeyed the par-four ninth to cough up the lead at the turn.
Verplank never surrendered the lead after that, although Donald fought back, cutting the margin to one-shot with a nice birdie at the par-five 16th.
But Verplank preserved his lead with a stellar par at the par-three 17th, where he executed a near-perfect long bunker shot, splashing his ball to inside two feet, before both players parred the last.
Verplank carded 66 to finish at 13-under-par 267, collecting
1,134,000 (£568,720), the biggest prize of his long career. Donald, who took a one-shot lead into the final round, carded 68 for second place on 12-under 268, with Phil Mickelson, Jerry Kelly, Ian Poulter and Rory Sabbatini two shots further back in a tie for third.
Poulter was the only player apart from fellow Englishman Donald to get to 11-under, but missed golden birdie chances at 15 and 16, before bogeying the 17th.
“Of course, I’m not happy,” Poulter said. “Why should I be happy? I came out to win, not to finish third. I played pretty nicely today and I had a chance.”
Mickelson flirted with contention, getting to 10-under after 13 holes, but never really looked like winning.
Verplank may never win again, and if he doesn’t, he will look back at this week as the pinnacle of a good if not great career.
“I’ve been playing okay but my shoulder has been hurting,” said Verplank, who couldn’t believe it some 25 years ago when he received a phone call from Nelson.
“He called and said ‘I’ve been noticing your scores in the newspaper and the high school tournaments’. God, he was one of the finest gentlemen I’ve ever met.
“This is bigger than just notching up another win on the PGA Tour. Winning this tournament, it’s a childhood dream.”
ALL THE FINAL ROUND SCORES
USA unless stated, par 70):
267 Scott Verplank 67 68 66 66
268 Luke Donald (Eng) 67 66 67 68
270 Phil Mickelson 69 70 66 65, Jerry Kelly 69 70 67 64, Rory Sabbatini (Rsa) 70 69 67 64, Ian Poulter (Eng) 70 69 65 66
271 Fredrik Jacobson (Swe) 67 67 71 66, Ken Duke 68 73 64 66
272 Ryuji Imada (Jpn) 70 68 67 67
273 Stephen Marino 69 67 70 67, Rodney Pampling (Aus) 68 70 69 66, Brett Wetterich 66 68 72 67
274 Vijay Singh (Fij) 69 67 69 69, Chad Campbell 73 65 69 67, J J Henry 72 69 67 66, John Merrick 68 69 70 67, Bo Van Pelt 68 72 68 66, Bob Tway 71 67 69 67
275 Michael Allen 69 69 64 73, John Rollins 70 71 66 68, Shaun Micheel 69 71 67 68, Mike Weir (Can) 70 68 69 68, Carl Pettersson (Swe) 73 68 67 67, Steve Allan (Aus) 69 68 71 67
276 Ben Crane 70 68 73 65, Sean O’Hair 65 69 74 68, Jonathan Byrd 69 69 68 70, Tommy Armour III 72 69 67 68
277 Kent Jones 69 66 71 71, Arron Oberholser 71 69 69 68, Kris Cox 70 71 69 67, Darron Stiles 70 70 70 67, Stephen Leaney (Aus) 70 68 70 69, Kevin Sutherland 75 65 69 68, Nathan Green (Aus) 67 70 73 67, Craig Bowden 70 70 70 67, Troy Matteson 69 72 71 65, Douglas Labelle 68 71 71 67
278 Daniel Chopra (Swe) 73 66 72 67, Robert Allenby (Aus) 68 70 69 71, John Senden (Aus) 67 69 71 71, Billy Mayfair 72 67 70 69, Matt Kuchar 72 68 69 69
279 Robert Karlsson (Swe) 70 70 68 71, Dudley Hart 71 70 70 68, Anders Hansen (Den) 66 73 69 71, Gavin Coles (Aus) 70 69 71 69, Shigeki Maruyama (Jpn) 71 66 70 72, Steve Elkington (Aus) 70 70 70 69, Jason Gore 71 66 73 69
280 Brendon De Jonge 70 69 69 72, Justin Leonard 71 70 71 68, Anthony Kim 70 66 77 67, Jeff Gove 70 68 71 71
281 Tim Petrovic 69 72 66 74, Mathias Gronberg (Swe) 71 70 69 71, Craig Kanada 69 70 73 69, Jason Schultz 71 70 67 73, D.J. Trahan 73 67 69 72
282 Brandt Snedeker 69 71 74 68, Rich Barcelo 73 67 72 70
283 Bernhard Langer (Ger) 70 69 72 72, Robert Garrigus 72 67 70 74, Joe Ogilvie 69 72 70 72, Cliff Kresge 68 71 70 74
284 Glen Day 69 67 71 77
286 Pat Perez 68 73 70 75, Colt Knost 74 64 74 74, J.L. Lewis 71 70 75 70
287 Sergio Garcia (Spa) 71 70 71 75
288 Charlie Wi (Kor) 69 68 79 72
290 Marco Dawson 70 69 77 74, Parker McLachlin 71 69 73 77

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