Verhulst celebrates with a drink from the cup

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LA QUINTA, Calif -- In their franchise history, the St. Louis Blues have never drank from the Stanley Cup.

So forgive Dave Verlhust of Ballwin, Missouri for taking the honors. 

Shortly after his one-shot victory in the Sr. Sarazen Flight at the PGA West Nicklaus Course, Verhulst had his Golf Channel Am Tour National Championship trophy, surrounded with fellow competitors from his local St. Louis tour, chugging a celebratory brew from the crystal.

“It’s the pinnacle,” he said. “I can’t image anything better.”

Verhulst stayed in La Quinta in style this week, renting a house with several fellow St. Louis Am Tour competitors, and the strategy paid off.

“I came to nationals last year and had one good round but played poorly the rest,' he said. 'I committed myself to be ready mentally and physically this time.”

Verhulst had five shots of separation heading into the final round. But playing partner Darrell Wilson, from Georgetown, Texas put on the pressure with a final round 82. 

Verhulst, sensing he had a lead tried playing conservative on 18, but ended up three-putting for double bogey. Little did he know at the time it would be just enough to hang on.

'You can count as you go along and know where you stand,' he said. 'I ignored the score and just lucked out that I ended up one shot ahead.'