Verplanks Victory Silences Critics
Verplank watched a three-shot lead dissipate to one following a double bogey at the 16th, only to birdie the 17th and save par at the 18th to best Joey Sindelar (65) and Bob Estes (68) by three shots.
Verplank on his win.
'It's awesome. I can't put it into words right now,' said Verplank, who lost a playoff to Robert Damron at this year's Byron Nelson Classic in May. 'It's what I play for. It feels great to be able to get back to this level.'
Verplank earned $684,000 for his fourth career PGA Tour title. He also silenced critics who questioned Captain Curtis Strange for selecting him to the United States Ryder Cup team.
'Not that it really matters to me, but maybe to everybody else it makes Curtis look a little smarter than he was,' Verplank said. 'If I play like this at The Belfry, then he's going to look a whole lot smarter.'
The 37-year-old shot 3-under 67 to finish the tournament at 14-under-par 266, equal to the winning score of Tiger Woods in 2000. Woods fared far worse this year. Despite opening in 65 to earn a share of the day-one lead, Tiger played his final three rounds in 1-over to finish 10 strokes back.
Verplank led by one shot entering the final round in Ile Bizard, Quebec; and though he was caught on Sunday, he was never passed.
Verplank took the lead for good with a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 9, and then moved three clear of the field with a 30-foot birdie on 15.
Thats when things got interesting.
Verplank missed the green with his approach shot to the par-4 16th. He then flubbed his chip shot and two-putted for a double-bogey 6.
A three-shot lead was now one. But, having suffered through three elbow surgeries and a 12-year victory drought, Verplank wasnt about to fold.
He hit his tee shot on the par-3 17th 18 feet short of the hole and made the birdie putt. Then, despite an errant tee shot at the 18th, Verplank pitched out from the rough with his second shot and managed to sink a 25-foot par putt.
'I'm a little relieved right now,' said Verplank. 'I usually don't drive it 50 or 60 yards out of a fairway but it was interesting.
'Once I got way over there I asked one of the officials what the deal was,' said Verplank, referring to his 18th. 'They told me Estes bogeyed so I decided to chip out.'
Sindelar and Estes each collected $334,200 in tying for second. The cash was more than enough for the 43-year-old Sindelar to secure his card, while Estes moved inside the top-30 on the money list.
John Daly finished in fourth place. Daly, who won last weeks BMW International on the European Tour, birdied the 8th and 9th holes to tie for the lead at 11-under. However, he shot 1-over 36 on the back to collect his best PGA Tour finish since winning the 1995 British Open.
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Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.
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Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.