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25 May 2009 07:18
South Africa’s Rory Sabbatini withstood a late charge from Briton Brian Davis to clinch a two-stroke victory at the $6,5-million Byron Nelson Championship on Sunday.
Joint leader overnight, Sabbatini carded a six-under 64 at the Four Seasons TPC to finish with a tournament record 19-under-par 261 and $1 152 000 in prize money for his fifth PGA Tour victory.
“I wish I had been able to win it and look up and see Byron there at the 18th green,” the 33-year-old told reporters, referring to the American golfing great who passed away in 2006.
“I was absolutely ecstatic to get things rolling ... I saw some low scores out there and knew I was going to have to play well in order to maintain my position.
“I managed to get off to a good start, putting the ball in the fairway, putting it on the greens and giving myself some looks at [birdies] and then things obviously developed pretty well.”
Sabbatini, who also won the Colonial Invitational made famous by another American great and five-time winner Ben Hogan at nearby Fort Worth two years ago, was pushed all the way by runner-up Davis.
The Englishman also carded a sizzling 64 to finish 17-under, with American journeyman DA Points a further stroke adrift in third.
“It was a weird feeling, because on the first eight holes I couldn’t even find the club face,” Davis said.
“I hit a wedge shot on nine and I just found it and it clicked and off I went to the races.”
After three consecutive birdies on the ninth, 10th and 11th holes, 34-year-old Davis pulled within a stroke of Sabbatini.
But the South African crushed the uprising ruthlessly, notching three consecutive birdies of his own from 15 to 17 to ensure the victory, and render a final-hole bogey harmless.
Sabbatini dedicated the win to a friend battling cancer.
“I just hope and pray that my buddy in Atlanta pulls through.
He looks about 85-years-old and pretty much just skin and bones.
Overnight joint leader John Mallinger of the United States faded to finish sixth. - Reuters
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