Tue, May 16, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Brett Wetterich wins one for his brother

AP , IRVING, TEXAS

Brett Wetterich lifts up the Byron Nelson Championship trophy after he won the tournament in Irving, Texas, on Sunday.

PHOTO: AP

Brett Wetterich went from frustration to elation -- with a twinge of sadness -- in the final round of the Byron Nelson Championship on Sunday.

When the final putt dropped for his first US PGA Tour victory, Wetterich pumped his arms into the air and smiled. He was also fighting back tears.

"I was really happy for myself, but I was thinking about my brother," said Wetterich, whose older brother died three years ago. "It was a good feeling. I wish he was here to see it. But hopefully he was smiling down on me."

Wetterich's closing 2-under 68, which included a frustrating front nine, put him at 12-under 268. That was a stroke better than Trevor Immelman, a runner-up again after losing in a playoff to Jim Furyk at the Wachovia Championship last week.

"I'm playing the best golf of my life," Immelman said. "I'm 26 years old, and I'm going to have hundreds of golf tournaments to play still. It's just a case of trying to build on these last few achievements."

The US$1.116 million winner's check for the 32-year-old Wetterich nearly matched the US$1.3 million he had won in 80 US PGA Tour starts since 1998. He's the fifth first-time tour winner this season after top-10 finishes in New Orleans and Houston.

The initials "MTW" are on his bag in honor of his older brother, Mark, killed in a car accident in Chicago when he was hit by a drunken driver while going home from work.

"I think about him a lot," Wetterich said. "It was kind of special just thinking about him coming up" the 18th fairway.

Omar Uresti (68) and Adam Scott (71) finished two strokes back at 10 under, and Chad Campbell (69) followed at 9 under. Shigeki Maruyama, the 2002 Nelson champion, had four birdies the last six holes in a round of 66 that got him in a tie for sixth at 8 under with Luke Donald (68).

When Wetterich's approach to the 425-yard No. 4 landed in a frontside bunker, he blasted to 2.5 feet only to push the putt more than a foot past the hole. He disgustedly tossed his putter to the bag -- not a first this week -- and walked to the tee at the 181-yard No. 5, where he took a drink and slammed the plastic bottle into a garbage bin.

When his tee shot missed the green and he pushed a 9-foot par putt past the cup, he was 9 under and two strokes behind playing partners Immelman and Scott, the co-leader of the first three rounds whose troubles were still ahead.

After a birdie, Wetterich had a three-putt bogey at No. 9 and was three strokes back.

"I was a little frustrated," Wetterich said. "But I hung in there. I made some good pars, stayed patient and didn't try to get ahead of myself. It paid off."

The challenges kept coming for Karrie Webb, on the course and in her mind. Once the best female player in the world, she found herself trying to play with a five-shot lead and not really sure how to go about it.

In the end on Sunday, she did fine, overcoming all the mental battles she played within herself to win the Michelob Ultra Open by seven shots, once again showing that she's on her way back to being an elite player.

"I think the last four weeks proved to probably a lot of people and proved to myself, as well, that Kraft wasn't a fluke," Webb said referring to her victory in the US LPGA's first major, the Kraft Nabisco, last month.

"I didn't come out of nowhere, pop up, win that and disappear again."

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