IRVING, Texas - Scott Verplank dropped into a squatting position and looked skyward, almost in disbelief - and to say thanks.
Finally, after so many tries, Verplank won the tournament he's always wanted to win. This victory at home was for the late Byron Nelson.
"There's no question in my mind that the stars lined up and I got a little help from upstairs. I just haven't been playing that good," Verplank said.
"I think Byron had a hand in this week."
Verplank, who as a teenager growing up in Dallas got to know Nelson and play several rounds with the former star, used three straight birdies and an incredible par save from a bunker at No. 17 to win the first EDS Byron Nelson Championship played without its namesake.
When his final 2-foot par putt at No. 18 dropped Sunday for a one-stroke victory over Luke Donald, Verplank no longer had to hold his emotions. After initially dropping his head into his hands, he looked up with a smile on his face.
"I just kept saying, â€˜Oh my gosh! I can't believe it!' I couldn't believe that it happened. It was a dream," Verplank said. "Then I looked up and said, â€˜Thank you.' Incredible."
Sadly missing was a personal congratulation from Nelson, who died Sept. 26 at age 94. But Nelson's wife, Peggy, was there clutching one of his famed fedoras in her hand when she hugged Verplank.
"Byron would be very, very happy for Scott. I am, too," Peggy Nelson said. "The friendship they had, it's great to see it culminate this way."
In 1968, Nelson became the first golfer to have a PGA Tour event named after him, and he would always greet players finishing their rounds at the 18th green before taking part in the award ceremony.
Verplank closed with a 4-under 66 for a 13-under 267 total, a stroke ahead of Donald (68) for his fifth PGA Tour victory, his first since the 2001 Canadian Open.
Phil Mickelson (65), Jerry Kelly (64), Rory Sabbatini (64) and Ian Poulter (66) tied for third at 10 under.
This victory was much more valuable to Verplank than the $1.134 million check and a custom-made motorcycle built by Orange County Choppers.
It was the 21st Nelson tournament for the 42-year-old Verplank, who considers the event his fifth major because of the man for which it's named - and who used to write him encouraging notes. Verplank once was a standard bearer at the tournament, where his mother was a volunteer.
Corona Morelia Championship
MORELIA, Mexico - Silvia Cavalleri became the first Italian winner in LPGA Tour history, closing with a 7-under 66 for a two-stroke victory over Mexican star Lorena Ochoa and Paraguay's Julieta Granada in the Corona Morelia Championship.
Cavalleri finished with a 20-under 272 total on the Tres Marias course and earned $195,000. She had seven birdies in her bogey- free final round in light rain.
Ochoa, the 2006 winner playing her first tournament as the No. 1 player in the world, shot a 68. Granada, also second last year, finished with a 68 as well.
A crowd of thousands, including Mexico President Felipe Calderon, crowded round the 18th hole to cheer Ochoa, who closed with a birdie to shouts of "Mexico! Mexico!" and "We love you Lorena!"comments powered by Disqus