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After six years, Curtis is back in the winner’s circle

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By James Dalthorp

GolfWRX Contributor

When Ben Curtis won his first major championship as a rookie at the 2003 British Open Championship, there were many who tagged him as a “fluke” or “longshot.” After all, he was ranked 396th in the world entering the event with just his strong amateur resume to validate his win. But nine years later, he’s reached rare company with his third PGA TOUR win under his belt, secured today at the Valero Texas Open at the TPC San Antonio. Curtis shot an even-par 72 to finish at 9-under, a two shot win that was heartfelt for the 34-year-old.

“All the emotions … you don’t even know you have ‘em until you go through something like that,” Curtis said.

Curtis has been through major life experiences during his PGA Tour career. Not long after his major win in his rookie season, he tied the knot with his wife Candace at the United Methodist Church just miles from the site of where he played that week’s tournament at Firestone Country Club. He now has two young children.

Curtis had been playing the European Tour regularly because he did not have full status on Tour. In the past six years since his last win, he had only 24 made cuts in over 200 starts. Through the trying times, he continued to listen to the advice of his college coach from Kent State University. The Ohio State amateur champion mentioned his advice regularly in the media center after his win.

“He said, ‘Just keep working hard and good things will happen.’”

Curtis held off young standouts Matt Every and John Huh by a two shot margin. Every was the first round leader after a course-record 63. Curtis managed two steady opening rounds of 67, followed by 73-72 on the weekend. His two double bogeys on the front nine in Round 3 set him back, but Curtis overcame the setback to finish two-under his last ten holes in difficult conditions. The final round of 72 was two shots below the field average of nearly 74 at TPC San Antonio.

The tough conditions could be attributed to not only a difficult course, designed by Greg Norman, but challenging conditions. The nearly 7500-yard layout saw its share of challenging weather over four days. Day 1, a steady wind from the South made scoring conditions inconsistent. In Round 2, wind came at the same moment, but from a more northern direction. The switch meant that players who teed off late Thursday and early Friday saw a different course – the wind did not start to blow until about noon on Friday which gave the players ideal scoring conditions. At about 1:45 p.m. CST Friday, a rainstorm hit San Antonio that caused players to continue their rounds Saturday morning.

The North wind continued to blow Saturday – and finally Sunday the breeze settled down. However, the pin positions were tough to putt.

“It was hard to get yourself after a while to make good strokes and trust yourself,” Curtis said of the holes today, which were cut in places that were difficult to read.

John Huh and Matt Every fought hard to challenge Curtis, but could not get their putts to drop late. Huh was 9-over after eight holes in the first round, but battled back into contention after only one bogey and 16 birdies in his final 64 holes. He would come up just two shots out of a playoff.

Curtis earned his victory with two clutch putts at the end of the round. Faced with a challenging lie on the No. 17 , he bladed a wedge shot from the fairway over the green. From there, he had to make a lengthy putt of some 25 feet to save par and maintain a one shot lead. He drained it.

“It was the best putt I hit all week,” Curtis said.

He finished his round by making a 15-footer for birdie on the 18th green for a two-shot win.

“I love hard golf courses,” Curtis said. “I love when par is premium. I love courses where you have to control your distance – not only in the air but also on the ground.”

Curtis will head to the Zurich Classic of New Orleans next week thanks to the win. This is his ninth year on the PGA Tour and he will look to defend the Valero Texas Open next year on a new date – the week before the Masters. Next week in New Orleans, he will join Huh and Every in the field that includes Masters and defending champion Bubba Watson, as well as Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els, Justin Rose, and Luke Donald.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Derek

    Apr 23, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    24 cuts made in 200 starts?? Might wanna check you facts..

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10 interesting photos from Tuesday at the Fort Worth Invitational

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GolfWRX is on the ground at Marvin Leonard’s famed pet project, Colonial Country Club, peeking into players bags and taking in the action on the driving range.

While you’ll want to take a trip through the buffet line, we’ve made you a plate of some of the tastiest morsels.

Absolutely savage new putter cover for Jon “Rahmbo” Rahm. Just killer.

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Spotted: Aldila Rogue Silver 130 MSI

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More like Garsen Murray. Am I right?

If you were Aaron Wise standing over the winning putt at last week’s Byron Nelson, this is what it’d have looked like (of course, you’d have had a ball and the putter would be soled on the green, but you get the point…)

Abraham Ancer’s new Artisan wedges are simply incredible… All of this: Artisan star stellar stuff.

Rickie Fowler has gone grape.

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Is Patrick Cantlay considering a switch to a Cameron Napa?

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 Fort Worth Invitational at Colonial

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational at Colonial Country Club (par 70; 7,209 yards). The event has now been hosted here for 73 straight years.

Headlining the field this week are Jordan Spieth, who’s currently ranked No. 3 in the Official World Golf Rankings, Jon Rahm (No. 4), Justin Rose (No. 5) and Rickie Fowler (No. 6). Joining them are notables Webb Simpson, who’s coming off his win at The 2018 Players, as well as Wesley Bryan, Jason Dufner, Bryson DeChambeau, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Pat Perez, Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, and last week’s champion, Aaron Wise.

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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10 interesting photos from Monday at the Fort Worth Invitational

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GolfWRX is on the ground at Marvin Leonard’s famed pet project, Colonial Country Club, peeking into players bags and taking in the action on the driving range.

In addition to a gallery of photos from Misery Hill, we have WITB looks at Chad Campbell, Sung Kang, and Si-Woo Kim’s golf bags.

While you’ll want to take a trip through the buffet line, we’ve made you a plate of some of the tastiest morsels.

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Abraham Ancer may have the only grafitti-inspired bag font on Tour.

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A.B.C. How about this new Odyssey putter cover?

Chad Campbell is still rocking the TaylorMade Burner TP 5-wood!

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Check out our photos from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational below.

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