Curtis holds his nerve
Huh and Every both miss back-nine chances to win
Last Updated: April 23, 2012 10:38am
Ben Curtis: Ended a losing run dating back to 2006
Former Open champion Ben Curtis claimed his first title for 2,045 days with a two-shot victory at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.
The 34-year-old from Ohio took a three-shot lead into the final round and had to battle to his first win since 2006, getting round in level par 72.
That was good enough for a two-shot victory over Americans Matt Every and John Huh, both of whom had their chances to win on the back nine.
(US unless stated)
-9 B Curtis
-7 M Every
-7 J Huh
-5 B Steele
-5 B Estes
-5 B Gay
-5 C Wi (Kor)
Click here for collated scores
Curtis surrendered the lead with back-to-back bogeys at 11 and 12, dropping into a tie at eight-under with first round leader Every.
But Every missed a six-foot birdie putt at the par five 14th to go one clear on his own and as both leaders made par, the third member of their group Huh birdied it to get to within a stroke.
Every then missed a 10-foot par putt at 15 after a poor approach and a heavy chip, so Curtis again led by one.
On the par three 16th, Every fired his approach to four feet and missed the putt and there was even more drama to come at 17.
Curtis played a shocking approach shot with a wedge from the fairway which went through the green and then could only chip to 22 feet away.
Emotional win for Curtis
The 21-year-old Huh - already a winner at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico in February - was six feet away in two and suddenly he was favourite.
But Curtis drained his 22-footer and Huh missed his birdie try, so the lead remained at one.
The par five 18th was tame by comparison as after Every and Huh made par, Curtis had two putts for the title and duly holed a 12-footer for birdie to win the $1.1m first prize.
"I don't know how I did it," said the 2003 Open champion, who lost his full playing privileges on the PGA Tour last year. "Somehow these last couple of years, just fighting through it, and stay positive. That's all you can do.
"The last couple of years I felt like I was so close to playing so many good tournaments and just ended up missing the cut by one or having a bad round here or there, and just haven't putted well.
"Finally this week, every part of the game together."