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Westin Texas Open
LaCantera Golf Club
San Antonio, Texas

24th - 27th September 1998

Par 72 Prize Money $1.7 million

Final Round Report

Leonard blows the lead to give Hal Sutton his first victory since 1995

Associated Press

San Antonio, Texas, 27th September 1998 - Hal Sutton has endured some bad times. He's finally getting to celebrate.

Sutton won a three-way battle on the back nine at the Westin Texas Open today for his first PGA Tour victory since 1995 after Justin Leonard lost the lead by bogeying the final two holes.

"I've really worked hard this year,'' Sutton said. "I'd rather not think about the past. I'd rather think about the future. Right now, I'm playing well enough I feel I can win again before the year is out.''

The first prize of $306,000, the largest check of his career, moved Sutton from 31st on the money list to 15th, with $1,079,740.

Sutton, who led by one stroke entering the final round at LaCantera Golf Club, had six birdies and two bogeys in a 4-under-par 68. He held on to par the final two holes and finish with an 18-under 270 total, one stroke ahead of Leonard, who crumbled, and Jay Haas, who couldn't make a birdie down the stretch.

Leonard and Haas each shot a 68.

"It's disappointing to give myself that good a chance and not be able to pull through,'' Leonard said. "Right now, I'm pretty upset and not very pleased with the way I played the last two holes.''

While Leonard's spirits sank, Sutton's soared.

The victory was Sutton's first since the B.C. Open in 1995 and his ninth on the PGA Tour. It also proves to the 40-year-old from Shreveport, La., that his comeback is real.

One of golf's stars in the early 1980s, Sutton won seven times in his first five years on tour. Then he went winless for eight years after 1986, and in 1992 his earnings dropped to $39,324.

That was his low point, he said.

"I tell you what, I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemies,'' Sutton said. "At that point in my life, I was embarrassed to walk out on the practice tee.''

Sutton said he was glad he played a solid four rounds in the Texas Open and that he played patiently even when Leonard moved ahead.

"As long as he didn't get more than two shots away from me, I knew I still had a chance to win,'' he said. "For 72 straight holes I positioned myself around the lead.''

Finishing three strokes back at 273 were Mike Reid, who set a course record with a final-round 62, Steve Lowery, Loren Roberts and Andrew Magee. Scott Gump, who was tied with Leonard one stroke back entering today's round, was another stroke back.

Leonard took a one-stroke lead over Sutton and a two-stroke lead over Haas on the par-4 15th when he made a 10-foot birdie putt. Sutton bogeyed the hole and Haas continued his streak of pars. On No. 16, Leonard and Sutton both made birdies and Leonard remained a stroke ahead at 19-under.

But everything changed on the 17th.

Leonard hit to the right of the green, then chipped the ball to 12 feet. His putt came up short and he bogeyed.

He had problems again on No. 18 when he hit into a bunker then just missed his 5-foot putt for par.

"I figured if I made one more birdie on the last two holes it was pretty much a lock,'' Leonard said. "I had a great chance.''

Sutton, knowing all he had to do was par, missed a 10-foot birdie putt on 18 but followed up by making a 2-footer for the championship.

Lowery had a 64 today to join the group tied for fourth, while Magee had a 66 and Roberts a 67.

Gump, who had a 71 today, finished tied with Jeff Maggert, who had a 66.

DIVOTS: Reid's 62 also tied the lowest final-day score in Texas Open history. ... Sutton's victory keeps with a Texas Open trend of third-round leaders ending up winners. The third-round leader has won 10 of the last 11 years. ... Leonard and Haas each received $149,600 for their second-place tie. ... Corey Pavin, a winner of the Texas Open at Oak Hills Country Club in 1988, ended up 10th with a 13-under 275. It was the first top-10 finish for the 1995 U.S. Open champion since tying for eighth at the Mercedes Championships in January 1997.

Final Round Scores

Third Round

Second Round

First Round