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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2006 > PGA Tour > EDS Byron Nelson Championship > Round 4
 

BYRON NELSON CHAMPIONSHIP RELATED STORIES





Brett Wetterrich gains maiden tour win

Brett Wetterich went from frustration to elation -- with a twinge of sadness -- in the final round of the Byron Nelson Championship.

When the final putt dropped for his first PGA Tour victory, Wetterich pumped his arms into the air and smiled. He was also fighting back tears.

"I was really happy for myself, but I was thinking about my brother," said Wetterich, whose older brother died three years ago. "It was a good feeling. I wish he was here to see it. But hopefully he was smiling down on me."

Wetterich's closing 2-under 68, which included a frustrating front nine, put him at 12-under 268. That was a stroke better than Trevor Immelman, a runner-up again after losing in a playoff to Jim Furyk at the Wachovia Championship last week.

"I'm playing the best golf of my life," Immelman said. "I'm 26 years old, and I'm going to have hundreds of golf tournaments to play still. It's just a case of trying to build on these last few achievements."

The $1.116 million winner's check for the 32-year-old Wetterich nearly matched the $1.3 million he had won in 80 PGA Tour starts since 1998. He's the fifth first-time tour winner this season after top-10 finishes in New Orleans and Houston.

The initials "MTW" are on his bag in honor of his older brother, Mark, killed in a car accident in Chicago when he was hit by a drunken driver while going home from work.

"I think about him a lot," Wetterich said. "It was kind of special just thinking about him coming up" the 18th fairway.

Omar Uresti (68) and Adam Scott (71) finished two strokes back at 10 under, and Chad Campbell (69) followed at 9 under. Shigeki Maruyama, the 2002 Nelson champion, had four birdies the last six holes in a round of 66 that got him in a tie for sixth at 8 under with Luke Donald (68).

When Wetterich's approach to the 425-yard No. 4 landed in a frontside bunker, he blasted to 2 1/2 feet only to push the putt more than a foot past the hole. He disgustedly tossed his putter to the bag -- not a first this week -- and walked to the tee at the 181-yard No. 5, where he took a drink and slammed the plastic bottle into a garbage bin.

When his tee shot missed the green and he pushed a 9-foot par putt past the cup, he was 9 under and two strokes behind playing partners Immelman and Scott, the co-leader the first three rounds whose troubles were still ahead.

After a birdie, Wetterich had three-putt bogey at No. 9 and was three strokes back.

"I was a little frustrated," Wetterich said. "But I hung in there. I made some good pars, stayed patient and didn't try to get ahead of myself. It paid off."

There was a three-stroke swing over three holes. Wetterich had a birdie at the 452-yard 10th, where Immelman bogeyed before a three-putt bogey two holes later.

At the 475-yard 15th, Immelman's drive was deep in the right rough and his approach was well left of the hole on way to a bogey. Wetterich parred and led the rest of the way.

"I've just got to keep plugging away and doing what I'm doing, and eliminate a few of those errors," Immelman said.

After Wetterich put his tee shot at No. 18 in the fairway, Immelman pulled his well right -- and it bounced into the new lake there. After taking a penalty drop, Immelman saved par after an approach to 6 feet. But Wetterich needed only a tap-in par for the victory.

Scott held the 54-hole lead in three other PGA Tour events, and won each time. That included two years ago when at 23 the Australian became the youngest winner at The Players Championship.

Not this time.

"I had been playing good," Scott said. "It's a shame I didn't play well today -- or yesterday for that matter on the back nine."

After needing a 78-foot chip shot to save par at the 533-yard No. 7, Scott also pitched over the green the next two holes to start a stretch of three straight bogeys. He was 8 under after a 5-foot par putt rolled around the cup without falling at No. 10.

With four birdies his first eight holes Saturday, Scott built a four-stroke lead and then finished the third round with three bogeys his last seven holes. He finally ended a 23-hole stretch without a birdie at No. 16 on Sunday.

Uresti made the most of the sponsor exemption that allowed him to play only his sixth tourney this year, matching his best career finish (1997 Bay Hill Invitational) and winning $359,600. His only other top 10 in 60 tournaments since tying for 10th at the 2004 season opener in Hawaii was the Nelson last year.

"It's encouraging, more encouraging to be able to tie for third," said

 

 




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