Verplank hangs on for Canadian Open victory

Monday, September 10, 2001

MONTREAL -- Two big birdie putts allowed Scott Verplank to survive a few scary moments down the stretch Sunday, but he hung on to win the Canadian Open and douse any concerns about his selection to the Ryder Cup team.

Despite a double bogey on No. 16 and having to scramble for par on the final hole, Verplank closed with a 3-under 67 and won for the first time this year, beating Bob Estes and Joey Sindelar by three strokes.

John Daly, coming off his first victory in six years, was tied for the lead after nine holes and finished fourth, four strokes back.

Verplank was a controversial captain's pick to the U.S. team, the first rookie ever selected. Captain Curtis Strange took him over three others who finished higher in the standings, including Tom Lehman.

Strange wanted him on the team for the courage Verplank displayed in coming back from three elbow surgeries, and his steady play. Both were evident on a warm, blustery afternoon at Royal Montreal Golf Club.

He finished at 14-under 266, matching the winning score last year by Tiger Woods at Glen Abbey Golf Club. Woods never had a chance to become the first player in 50 years to win the Canadian Open in consecutive years. He had a 69 and finished 10 strokes back.

Verplank led by one stroke going into the final round and was caught twice, but he never trailed. He took the lead for good with a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 9, then expanded his margin with a 30-foot birdie putt on 15 and an 18-footer on 17.

In between was a double bogey, in which he left it short of the green, chipped over and then flubbed a chip that went only about 6 feet.

None of it mattered in the end. Estes missed the 18th fairway by 30 yards and took bogey, and no one else could sustain any kind of a run.

Verplank earned $648,000 and moved to seventh on the PGA Tour money list, more evidence that his selection for the Ryder Cup team wasn't so farfetched.

Sindelar, who lost his PGA Tour card last year, felt like a winner when he was done. A tie for second earned him $334,200, more than enough to secure his card for next year.

Allianz Championship

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Jim Thorpe won his second straight tournament, closing with a 5-under-par 66 for a 14-under 199 total to win the Allianz Championship senior event by two strokes.

Gil Morgan closed with a 65 to finish 12-under at the Glen Oaks Country Club.

The $265,000 first-place check was Thorpe's largest as a pro.

Williams Championship

TULSA, Okla. -- Gloria Park overcame a five-stroke deficit with a 6-under-par 64 and won the inaugural Williams Championship for her first LPGA Tour victory.

Park won $150,000 with a 9-under 201 total, one stroke ahead of Donna Andrews.

--From wire reports

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: