Curtis relieved to end drought

by Setanta Staff , 23 April 2012

Ben Curtis admitted his relief at winning his first tournament in more than five years with victory at the Valero Texas Open.

The 34-year-old US star carded a final-round even par 72 to finish on nine-under par and take the title by two shots from compatriots Matt Every and John Huh.

The 2003 Open Championship winner began the final day with a four-shot lead after rounds of 67, 67 and 73 but saw his lead reduced significantly with bogeys at the 11th and 12th holes.

And it looked as though the Ohio resident might be heading down the 18th in a three-way tie as he needed to hole a 23-foot putt for par at the 17th.

However Curtis held his nerve to sink the monster and then nailed down the victory with a birdie at the final hole to land the $1.1m first prize.

The 2008 Ryder Cup star looked set for big things after winning at Royal St George's nine years ago but had to wait three more years before returning to the winner's enclosure.

He won two titles in 2006 but that was as good as it got and, prior to last week's San Antonio event, he was ranked 285th in the world.

Curtis admitted that it has been "a tough couple of years", and was relieved that he was finally able to get the job done after everything clicked into place at the right time.

"The last couple 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," he told a press conference. "Finally this week, every part of the game came together."

Every opened with a 63 on Thursday but was unable to break par in any of his subsequent three rounds and had to settle for a share of second place with Huh, whose final round 69 saw him come close to adding another title to the Mayakoba Golf Classic that he won earlier this season.

Brendan Steele was one of four players to share fourth place on -5, while pre-tournament favourite Matt Kuchar could only manage a one-over par 73 on Sunday to finish in a tie for 13th on two-under par.

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