A spectacular final round of 65 was enough for American Joe Durant to clinch victory in the Funai Classic at Walt Disney World in Florida on Sunday evening – ending a barren spell of five years on the USPGA Tour for the 42 year-old. Seven birdies helped him on his way to the fifth title of his career.
Durant (pictured) started the day one stroke behind overnight leader Troy Matteson, who won his maiden USPGA event in Las Vegas last week, but the rookie had no answer to Durant’s inspired form over the closing eighteen holes and eventually finished four strokes behind his compatriot on -21. Fellow American Frank Lickliter also finished on -21 in a share of second place.
England’s Justin Rose had sparked hopes of a maiden victory of his own this weekend after firing an astonishing opening round of 60 on Thursday. He held a four stroke lead at the halfway stage but a round of 72 in the third round meant that he lost ground to the Americans and he eventually finished in fourth place on -20. He was a stroke clear of Vijay Singh, the 2003 champion and the highest rated player in the field.
Durant was clearly delighted at winning after such a long spell in the wilderness and hoped that the form he showed in Florida would continue over the coming months. He also spoke of his joy at winning at Disney World – lots of his family were in attendance in what is one of the more light hearted weeks on the tour.
“I’m delighted and proud,” he said after securing the $828,000 winner’s cheque.
“This is one of the best tournaments for me to win because this is such a family event and my family have always been the backbone of my career. We’ve always dreamed about staying on the 18th with Mickey Mouse.”