Chappell ends long drought with Texas Open win

Kevin Chappell made a 6 metre putt on the final hole to win the Valero Texas Open by one stroke on Sunday with a 4-under 68 to finish at 12 under for the tournament, defeating Brooks Koepka to earn his first PGA Tour victory in his 180th career start.

The win was timely and on the back of six previous runner-up finishes in 179 starts on tour, including four second places last season.

Prior to Sunday’s breakthrough win Chappell had lost twice to Rory McIlroy at the 2011 US Open and 2016 Tour Championship, twice to Jason Day at the 2016 Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship and was third to Dustin Johnson at the 2016 WGC-Bridgestone – all in quality events.

“A big relief,” said the 30-year-old Chappell, who played various tours since turning professional in 2008. “There’s been quite the monkey on my back for some time now about getting that first win. And to take that off and not have to answer those questions anymore is nice.”

“I’m just excited I don’t have to answer that question (again) of what do I have to do to win.”

Koepka had posted the best round of the day, a seven-under-par 65 that wasn’t good enough. He was on the practice tee awaiting Chappell finishing the final hole to decide on whether there would be a playoff.

On the 18th hole, Chappell delivered the knockout punch. After a perfect layup second shot, he hit his third to 6 metres to set the victory with a birdie putt.

“You got to respect him, too,” said Koepka. “It’s eight feet. Everybody out here can do that, everybody out here is good. I’m not surprised. But I’m happy for him.”

Koepka birdied five of his first eight holes as well as the the final one to post 11-under in the clubhouse. He would be tied for the lead, but that number proved one short with Chappell’s closing birdie. Koepka jumped 10 spots on the round, from T-12 to solo second.

After a tough stretch in which he missed three of four cuts, Koepka has now finished in the top 15 in each of his last three starts including the Masters and the WGC-Dell Match Play championship.

Kevin Tway and Tony Finau finished in a tie for third at 9 under. Aaron Baddeley was solo fifth at 8 under.

Cameron Smith was the next best Aussie finishing in a tie for 6th position at 7-under, with Matt Jones jumping six places with a final 2-under-par round to finish in a tie for 13th.

Geoff Ogilvy made the weekend to finish in a tie for 27th along with Cameron Percy to be the remaining Australians making the weekend.

John Senden, Greg Chalmers, Curtis Luck, Steven Bowditch and Brett Drewitt all missed the even cut mark.