Tue, Aug 01, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Pavin clinches elusive PGA win

AT LAST It has been a long haul for Corey Pavin, but the hard work paid off on Sunday when he pocketed US$720,000 for winning the US Bank Championship


Corey Pavin smiles with the trophy after his victory at the US Bank Championship at Brown Deer Park Golf Club in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Sunday. Pavin finished with a 20-under 260 total.


Corey Pavin's putting prowess carried him to his first US PGA Tour victory in 10 years at the US Bank Championship on Sunday.

The 46-year-old Pavin closed with a 3-under 67 for a two-stroke victory over local favorite Jerry Kelly.

Pavin, whose last victory came in the 1996 Colonial, earned his 15th tour victory with precise putting and a timely eagle on the par-4 eighth. He finished with a 20-under 260 total.

Kelly also finished with a 67. Jeff Sluman (64) was 17 under, Frank Lickliter (69) and D.J. Trahan (69) followed at 15 under and Woody Austin (65), Joey Sindelar (67) and Billy Andrade (68) were 14 under.

Pavin, who also won the tournament 20 years ago, became the eighth two-time champion in Milwaukee. While his first win here was worth US$72,000, Sunday's check was 10 times that at US$720,000.

Kelly said he wanted to go head-to-head with the leader in the final round. Before the tournament, Pavin seemed like an unlikely candidate, ranking 194th in driving distance and 175th in putting on tour.

But the 1995 US Open winner scorched the short 6,759-yard Brown Deer Park Golf Course early with a tour-record 26 on the par-34 front nine on Thursday. He finished the first round with a 61 and shot a 64 in the second to reach 15 under and tie the tour scoring record for the first 36 holes at 125.

Kelly had the backing of the partisan crowd expecting the Wisconsinite who lost in a playoff here in 1996 to finally win the tournament he calls a "major."

The gallery and even those outside the course loudly urged Kelly on as he tried to pump them up by waving his arms for more noise during his final round, especially down the stretch. Walking up one fairway, a man riding a bicycle in the subdivision across the street began shouting for Kelly hysterically.

But Pavin, who said he has rediscovered his putting stroke after the return of caddie Eric Schwarz following a six-month layoff, relished the chance to be the outsider and spoil everyone's fun.

Kelly, who started Sunday two shots behind Pavin, spoiled his own chances.

He did not make a bogey, but missed 13 birdie putts, the closest from 7 feet, and did not make a putt longer than 5 feet.

After an eagle attempt on No. 15, Kelly birdied to move to 18 under, two strokes behind Pavin. But he again missed birdie putts on Nos. 16, 17 and 18.

Meanwhile, Pavin's biggest shot came on the par-4 eighth hole, when he opened a four-stroke lead over Kelly. Pavin hit a drive 270 yards to the center of the fairway, and his second shot from 172 yards bounced three times and rolled into the cup for an eagle.

The first person to congratulate him? Kelly.

It was all Kelly could do because of his lousy putting.

Meanwhile, Pavin, who came from behind for his win here in 1986, even made putts he thought he had missed, like at No. 10, when he flipped his putter end over end after a 7-footer that appeared to be rolling past the hole fell in.

Pavin did not three-putt a single green and averaged 26.5 putts per round.

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