GFC Search

 

Tataurangi Hits the Jackpot in Vegas

RSS

Had it been a regular PGA Tour stop, David Duval would have been declared the winner after 72 holes. But the Invensys Classic at Las Vegas has an added days play, and, consequently, a different winner.
 
Phil Tataurangi fired a career-best 10-under 62 to capture his first career PGA Tour victory. The native New Zealander, who will turn 31 on Halloween, finished at 29-under-par 330, one stroke higher than the tournament record, but one stroke better than anyone else this week.
 
'It's out of my wildest dreams to have won,' Tataurangi said. 'No way did I start out the day thinking I had a chance to win.'
 
Premium Video - Subscription Required More from Phil Tataurangi on his win.
 
Stuart Appleby (66) and Jeff Sluman (67) tied for second place at 28-under. Three-time Vegas winner Jim Furyk (68) bogeyed the last to finish alone in fourth.
 
Duval birdied three straight holes starting at the 13th, but it wasnt enough to overcome three bogeys over his first 11 holes. Duval shot 1-under 71 to finish in a tie for sixth.
 
Tataurangi became the 15th first-time winner this season, setting a new tour record. He collected $900,000, nearly equal to his combined career earnings prior to this year on tour.
 
The victory was rewarding in more ways than just financial.
 
Following four mildly successful seasons on tour, a severe neck injury cut short his 2000 campaign. His final round that year was an ignominious 20-over-par 92 in the first round of the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic.
 
He was limited to just 12 events a year ago, missing eight cuts. He earned his way on the tour this season via Q-School.
 
But its been a life-long malady that has generated the most concern. Tataurangi suffers from superventricular tachycardia (SVT), which causes the heart to beat erratically or quickly and leads to symptoms similar to those of a heart attack.
 
He collapsed on the tee box in the second round of the 2001 Air Canada Championship, but resumed play after receiving medical attention. His heart again attacked at this years Byron Nelson Classic, when it began racing after he jumped up to get a look at a hidden pin position.
 
Tataurangi was able to keep his beats in rhythm and his emotions in check Sunday as he scorched the TPC at Summerlin.
 
The Kiwi started the day five back of Duval, but turned in 5-under 31, and added three more birdies at 10, 12 and 13 to take the outright lead at 27-under. He drove the 341-yard, par-4 15th and two-putted for his ninth birdie of the day.
 
For good measure, he rolled in a 10-footer for birdie No. 10 at the par-5 16th.
 
Tataurangi parred his final two holes to take a two-shot lead into the clubhouse. He then went to the range and practiced, while waiting to see if anyone would catch him.
 
Appleby eagled the 16th, and nearly aced the par-3 17th to get within one, at minus 28. Furyk and Sluman did the same with birdies at 16 and 17, respectively.
 
But none of the trio could birdie the final hole to force a playoff.
 
Appleby missed a 10-footer at 18, and neither Sluman nor Furyk even hit the green at the last. After Slumans chip shot came up 12 feet short of the hole, Furyk pitched 10 feet past.
 
'It's pretty bizarre, isn't it?' Tataurangi said. 'To beat the players who were in the field this week is very special to me.'
 
Final results from the Invensys Classic at Las Vegas

Related Articles