PGA: Valero Texas Open - Final RoundApr 23, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; Kevin Chappell celebrates after sinking his last putt to win the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio- AT&T Oaks Course. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
(Reuters) - Kevin Chappell ended a frustrating run of near misses when he clinched his first PGA tour title with a one-stroke triumph over fellow American Brooks Koepka at the Texas Open on Sunday.
Chappell let out a scream of ecstasy after sinking his winning putt, an eight-foot birdie at the final hole at TPC San Antonio.
His elation was understandable, following six previous runner-up finishes on tour, including four last season.
“I’m just excited I don’t have to answer that question (again) of what do I have to do to win,” Chappell said in a greenside interview after closing with a 68 to finish at 12-under-par 276.
“I was really calm all day. I know it’s very cliché, we all say that when we get it done, but I was calm. I never freaked out. Playing the last, it was simple, make four and you win.”
Chappell, equal seventh at the Masters two weeks ago, will jump into the top 25 in the world rankings, after starting the Texas Open ranked 41st.
Regarded as an excellent ball-striker whose putting does not always match the quality of his long game, he seemed in danger of coming up short again after three-putting from 80 feet from the fringe at the penultimate hole.
But the 30-year-old made amends at the last, starting his winning putt just outside the left edge of the hole and watching with delight as the ball broke just enough to topple in.
Koepka made a bold challenge on another windy day, notching eight birdies in a 65 before waiting in the clubhouse to see if he would get into a playoff.
But Koepka came up one stroke short as Chappell, in his 180th start on tour, finally found out what it felt like to win.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Clare Fallon and Ken Ferris)