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Sabbatini wins Byron Nelson

SOUTH Africa's Rory Sabbatini withstood a late charge from Briton Brian Davis to clinch a 2-stroke victory at the US$6.5 million Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Texas, on Sunday.

Joint leader overnight, Sabbatini carded a 6-under 64 at the Four Seasons TPC to finish with a tournament record 19-under-par 261 and US$1,152,000 in prize money for his fifth PGA Tour victory.

"I wish I had been able to win it and look up and see Byron (Nelson) there at the 18th green," the 33-year-old South African told reporters, referring to the American golfing great who passed away in 2006.

"I was absolutely ecstatic to get things rolling ... I saw some low scores out there and knew I was going to have to play well in order to maintain my position. I managed to get off to a good start, putting the ball in the fairway, putting it on the greens and giving myself some looks at (birdies) and then things obviously developed pretty well."

Sabbatini, who also won the Colonial Invitational made famous by another American great and 5-time winner Ben Hogan at nearby Fort Worth two years ago, was pushed all the way by runner-up Davis.

The Englishman also carded a sizzling 64 to finish 17-under, with American journeyman D.A. Points a further stroke adrift in third.

"It was a weird feeling, because on the first eight holes I couldn't even find the club face," Davis said. "I hit a wedge shot on (No.) 9 and I just found it and it clicked and off I went to the races."

After three consecutive birdies on the ninth, 10th and 11th holes, 34-year-old Davis pulled within a stroke of the South African.

But the South African crushed the uprising ruthlessly, notching three consecutive birdies of his own from 15 to 17 to ensure the victory, and render a final-hole bogey harmless.

Overnight joint leader John Mallinger of the United States faded badly to finish sixth.

Elsewhere, Britain's Paul Casey said he achieved a long-held ambition by winning the PGA Championship in Virginia Water, England, on Sunday. "This was a tournament I used to watch growing up as a kid," the new world No. 3 told reporters after a closing 68 gave him a 1-shot victory over fellow countryman Ross Fisher at Wentworth.

Casey said the main reason he was able to win the European Tour's flagship event was the scholarship he received from the nearby Foxhills Club when he was 11.


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