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Kevin Chappell Clinches Valero Texas Open Win With Clutch Final Putt

Eight feet to victory is what Kevin Chappell faced on the 72nd hole at the Valero Texas Open on Sunday. The 30-year-old never flinched.

After a beautiful approach shot from 89 yards away, Chappell calmly drained the eight-foot birdie putt and immediately expressed the exuberance of winning his first PGA Tour event, 180 starts into his professional career. He finished the tournament with a 4-under 68 performance (12-under 276 overall) that gave him the win by one shot over Brooks Koepka who gave him a serious challenge.

Koepka finished his final round before Chappell, but not before tying up the score with a short birdie putt of his own. Unfortunately for Koepka, his 7-under 65 and eight birdies weren’t enough to overcome Chappell’s clutch putt at the end.

Koepka may be thinking about what could have been on the par-5 14th, a hole Chappell ended up birdying after him. Even after Koepka’s tee shot landed in the rough and his second shot went into the bunker, he still had a chance for birdie. But he missed the four-foot putt and had to settle for par.

Chappell’s birdie on the hole gave him a two-shot lead over Koepka, but he followed it up with a bogey on the 15th, creating a window for Koepka. It was just too little, too late by the time Koepka tied things up on the 18th.

Round 2 co-leader Tony Finau also made a charge for the win on the back nine with four birdies and was just a shot behind Chappell by the time he got to the 17th. But he missed a 20-foot putt for birdie and settled for par. Finau then saw his chances crumble before him on the 18th.

Finau’s final hole involved pulling cactus needles from his leg and his ball going into the creek. You get the picture.

For Chappell, his first PGA win has more meaning than meets the eye.

“It’s just a big relief for me,” Chappell said in his post-tournament press conference. “I don’t have to answer that question anymore. I have a base to kind of jump off of with my career moving forward. Couldn’t happen at a better place for me.

“It just hit me that this was my first ever PGA Tour start, the Valero Texas Open back in 2008 I believe. So it’s very special to me, this event, and I’ve mentioned it a few times, having a runner-up here. That definitely had me motivated to get a win here.”

As with most of the great things in life, there’s nothing quite like the first one. Chappell’s explosion of emotions says it all.


Written by BP Staff


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