MasterCard Victory - Priceless


It wasnt easy, but after four years Nick Price expected nothing less.
Price shot 3-under 67 Sunday to win his first PGA Tour event in four seasons at the MasterCard Colonial in Ft. Worth, Texas. It was also his second triumph at Colonial Country Club, having first won in 1994.
The 45-year-old Zimbabwean finished at 13-under-par 267, maintaining his overnight lead of five. David Toms (66) and Kenny Perry (67) tied for second at 8-under. And though the final margin of victory looks cushy in print, it was laborious in achieving.
Price talks about his win

For a while there, my nerves certainly felt 45 years old, said Price, who won $774,000 in collecting his 17th PGA Tour victory in his 20-year career, but his first since the 1998 FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Thanks to a pair of closing birdies Saturday, Price took a five-shot lead into the final round. He felt comfortable with his advantage, saying it was his tournament to win so long as he could avoid bogeys.
Still leading by a quintet of strokes after a pair of early birdies Sunday, Price proved prophetic, allowing the field back into contention with back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 5 and 6.
With his lead down to two, and PGA champion Toms and veteran Perry on his tail, Price turned on the burners on the back and again pulled away.
It wasnt his famed accuracy ' he hit only five of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens in regulation in the final round ' that sealed victory; it was his short game. After driving into a fairway bunker, Price rolled home a 30-foot birdie at the par-5 11th, made a 20-footer for birdie at the next, and chipped in from 25 feet at the 14th.
Once again, the lead was five. It would remain that way as Price parred his final four holes.
My putting wasnt too bad this week ' seemed like old times, quipped Price, who finished the event first in putts per round.
It seemed like old times for Tom Watson, as well, this week. Had it not been for a balky putter Sunday, the 52-year-old could have contended for the title.
Watson, whose last PGA Tour victory came at this event in 1998, was within four of Price on the back nine, but bogeyed Nos. 14 and 15 to complement numerous missed birdie putts. He needed 32 putts in shooting 1-under 69 and finishing in seventh place at 5-under.
'It's bittersweet,' Watson said. 'I've always felt I could compete at Colonial, even at this advanced age. But I was really disappointed in my short game.'
Full-field scores from the MasterCard Colonial