Apr 23, 2017: Kevin Chappell made an 8-foot putt on the final hole to win the Valero Texas Open by one stroke on Sunday. Anirban Lahiri endured a difficult week, finishing in a tie for 72nd place. The Indian golfer was even through 36 holes, but weekend scores of 78 and 76 sank him down the order as he finished with a 10-over score of 298.
Chappell had a 4-under 68 in the final round to finish at 12 under for the tournament, edging Brooks Koepka at TPC San Antonio to earn his first PGA TOUR victory in his 180th career start.
“A big relief,” the 30-year-old Chappell said. “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.”
Koepka, a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team last year, was looking for his second PGA TOUR win. He had the best round of the day at 7-under 65. Before Chappell came down the 18th hole, Koepka had birdied the hole with a 3-foot putt to tie him.
“It’s hard to win out here — everybody knows that,” Koepka said. “I’m knocking on the door to get my second win. It’s nice for Kevin to get his first win. That’s pretty cool.”
Second-round co-leader Tony Finau got in a position to tie Koepka when he birdied four of five holes on the back nine. But his par-bogey finish left him to settle for a final-round 69 and a third-place tie with Kevin Tway (69) at 9-under.
Australian Aaron Baddeley fired 68 to finish fourth at 8 under.
Brian Gay (70), Sung Kang (68), Ryan Palmer (71) and Cameron Smith (71) were tied for sixth at 7-under, five shots behind Chappell.
Koepka, trailing Chappell by a shot coming up the 18th, took a 3-metal out of his bag and considered taking a crack at reaching the 606-yard par-5 in two. But he had 293 yards left with a slight uphill shot into the wind with a creek fronting the green.
“I really wanted to go for it — I really wanted to,” Koepka said. “But my caddy was kind of pulling the reins back and he wanted me to lay up, and it was probably a good thing that we did.”
He put the club back in his bag and laid up to create a 90-wedge approach. He stuck that to about three feet and made the birdie to go into the clubhouse tied with Chappell.
Chappell had almost the same distance for his approach on 18, and he landed it past the hole to set up the winning putt.
“I wouldn’t want it any other way,” said Chappell, a Californian who had been runner-up six times in his career. “Brooks kept me honest out there today. He made me had to do it the right way. There wasn’t any question I was going to make 4 (birdie) and win the golf tournament.”
Finau closed with birdies on four of five holes coming to the 17th. He was just a shot behind Chappell’s lead, but he parred there and drove next to a cactus bush on the 18th. He punched out to the fairway, removed cactus needles from his leg, then put his approach into the creek. He took a penalty drop, and his bogey ended his chances.
Chappell clung to a one-shot lead after Koepka birdied No. 11 with a 23-foot putt and another one at the next hole putting inside seven feet.