A real sense of deja-vu settled over the finale of the Byron Nelson Championship as a European faded at the business end of a prestigious tournament, allowing an American to slip through and steal the title.
Luke Donald (pictured left), the world number 11, led after both the second and third rounds and stood on the 6th tee during Sunday?s final round with a three-shot lead. However, a costly mistake on the 9th, when the Englishman hit a tree and three-putted on his way to a double-bogey six, saw him drop back towards the pack.
Playing partner and local boy Scott Verplank (pictured right) spent the final round heading in the opposite direction, a run of five birdies in eight holes helping him hit the front at the start of the back nine. A dropped shot at 15 allowed Donald back into the hunt and the pair came down the 18th separated by just a shot. With Verplank having secured his par, Donald faced a 10ft putt to force a play-off but could only watch in agony as it bobbled on its way to the hole and lipped out.
Verplank, who counted the recently departed Byron Nelson as his hero and mentor, picked up a cheque for $1,134,000 and moves into 15th in the FedEx standings. It is his first title since 2001, 138 tournaments ago.
It was Donald?s fifth top-10 finish this season. ?I?ve had a couple of good chances this year and I came here to win today. It?s not much fun finishing second. I will look at the positive but right now I?m disappointed,? he said.
Fellow Englishman Ian Poulter finished tied for third after shooting a closing-round 66.
Byron Nelson Championship final standings:
-13 Scott Verplank (USA)
-12 Luke Donald (ENG)
-10 Rory Sabbatini (SA), Jerry Kelly (USA), Phil Mickelson (USA), Ian Poulter (ENG)