John Senden had two reasons to celebrate on Sunday at the TPC at Deere Run, Ilinois, as he secured his maiden USPGA Tour victory. In addition to winning his first title the Australian secured a place at this week?s Open Championship for only the second time.
A three-under-par total of 68 in the final round was enough to hold off the strong challenge of American JP Hayes by one stroke. Hayes carded an impressive final round of 65 to get within striking distance of Senden, but the 35 year-old from Brisbane held his nerve by getting up-and-down from a greenside bunker at the 18th to preserve his one shot lead and secure his first win at the 139th attempt.
Germany?s Alex Cejka and Heath Slocum of the United States finished two shots further adrift on -16 and tied for third place.
?It was a tough day today,? a relieved Senden said after securing the title.
?My heart was going on the 18th and I was thinking that I just had to splash it out and leave a tap-in. I?ve been here for five years and it?s a great feeling to finally win.?
Senden had started the final round four shots ahead and, despite firing birdies at the first two holes, a bogey on the ninth had given the chasing players such as Hayes some hope of catching him.
Key Moment: Senden?s excellent under-pressure recovery from the greenside bunker on the 18th.
Quote, Unquote: ?I?m really excited about The Open. I was there in 2002 and it?s going to be another great experience.? Senden savours the added bonus of victory.