Purdy plays way to first PGA prize

Posted: Monday, May 16, 2005

 

  Byron Nelson Championship winner Ted Purdy follows through on his swing off the 10th tee, Sunday, May 15, 2005, in Irving, Texas. Purdy finished the tournament with a total of 265, 15-under-par. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Byron Nelson Championship winner Ted Purdy follows through on his swing off the 10th tee, Sunday, May 15, 2005, in Irving, Texas. Purdy finished the tournament with a total of 265, 15-under-par.

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

IRVING, Texa — Ted Purdy made sure this one didn't get away from him.

Heartbroken by two close calls last year, Purdy had a birdie putt on every hole and closed with a 5-under 65 to win the Byron Nelson Championship on Sunday for his first PGA Tour victory.

The tournament began with hype over the Big Five playing together for only the third time this year. The trophy went to Purdy, ranked No. 173 in the world, who played methodical golf for a one-shot victory over Sean O'Hair.

''I played flawlessly today,'' Purdy said. ''I won on the PGA. That's been my dream my whole life. I've been all over the world, but this is the pinnacle, especially this tournament.''

He took his seat next to Byron Nelson, the 93-year-old host, and collected $1.16 million.

It was an impressive performance by O'Hair, the 22-year-old rookie whose father treated him like a commodity and pushed him to turn pro at age 17, a year before he finished high school.

O'Hair, who started the day with a one-shot lead, was within one shot of the lead until he hit into a bunker at No. 14 and failed to save par. He birdied two of the last three holes for a 68 and earned $669,600, assuring the Q-school grad his card for next year and showing that he has the game to achieve greater things.

''I'm really proud of myself, and I'm really happy for Ted,'' O'Hair said. ''I learned a lot as far as what it takes to win. It's not always about making birdies. Sometimes, it's about making pars, and I made too many bogeys.''

Purdy finished at 15-under 265, and his 65 matched the lowest final round by a winner since the tournament moved to the TPC at Las Colinas in 1986. It was last done by John Cook in 1998.

Vijay Singh finished strong as always, with an ace on 195-yard 17th hole with a 7-iron, and a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a 65. He tied for third, going over $5 million for the third straight year.

Singh needed to finish alone in third to replace Tiger Woods at No. 1 in the world, although they could swap positions the next two weeks when neither are playing.

Bob Tway (67) and Doug Barron (69) also tied for third, with each dropping a shot over the final two holes. British Open champion Todd Hamilton, who played a practice round with O'Hair early in the week and was paired with him in the final round, had consecutive double bogeys to start the back nine and closed with a 74.

Purdy showed promise last year with two runner-up finishes that haunted him.

At the MCI Heritage, he blew a four-shot lead in the final round and then lost in a five-hole playoff to Stewart Cink. Then at the B.C. Open, he had a 3-foot par putt to force a playoff to Jonathan Byrd and missed it badly to the left, dropping his putter in disgust.

His best finish this year was a tie for 20th, and he was a forgotten figure on tour, especially this week at Las Colinas with the top five players in the field.

But he was close to perfect under steamy, sunny skies on the outskirts of Dallas. Purdy holed birdie putts of 25 feet on No. 6 to take the lead and 30 feet on No. 8 to take control. Down the stretch, he wasn't close to making a mistake, reaching the par-5 16th in two shots for a routine birdie that extended his lead to three shots.

O'Hair thought this might be his day.

Along with his wife, their parents and his 3-month-old child, his mother and sister flew in from Florida for the final round to watch what they all expected to one day see — the kid with a polished swing winning on the PGA Tour.

The only one missing was his father, Marc O'Hair, with whom Sean severed ties two years ago after the father pushed him relentlessly to be a star, even making him run a mile for every bogey he made.

Chick-fil-A Charity Championship

STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. — Annika Sorenstam's 60th win was one of her easiest.

Sorenstam cruised to a 10-stroke triumph in the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship on Sunday, shooting a bogey-free 67 that turned the final round into nothing more than an 18-hole victory lap. She finished with a 23-under 265 total at Eagle's Landing Country Club, matching the biggest 72-hole win of her career.

When the final putt dropped — a 3-footer for birdie at No. 18 — she pumped her fist, waved to the crowd and hugged her caddie.

She fell just short of her most dominating performance — an 11-stroke victory at the 54-hole Kellogg-Keebler Classic in 2002.

The 34-year-old Swede tied Patty Berg for third place on the LPGA Tour's career victory list, behind only Kathy Whitworth (88) and Mickey Wright (82).

''Here I am with 60,'' Sorenstam said. ''I have to pinch myself to believe it's real.''



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