Looking for a favourite other than Tiger Woods at this year's US Open? How about Hal Sutton?
The hero of the Ryder Cup used some gutsy play down the stretch once again to shoot a 1-under-par 71 to capture the $3 million Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic - his second PGA Tour win in a month.
Sutton beat Woods four weeks ago in the Players Championship by one stroke. And since finishing in a tie for eighth here in 1998, Sutton has five wins, 29 top 10s and $6.2 million in winnings.
"I think he's a definite dominant, top-five player in the world," Andrew Magee said of Sutton, who beat Magee by three shots on Sunday. "We all know that Hal has plenty of guts and courage. And he shows it time and time again. I respect Hal quite a bit."
Sutton's career was dormant seven years ago. He shot a 64 on Friday to built a big lead on the field that had difficulty dealing with US Open-like 5-inch rough and slick greens at Forest Oaks Country Club.
He cruised to his 13th career win despite being only 1-under for his final 36 holes.
"When I arrive at a tournament and see a lot of rough, I like that," said Sutton, who hit 12 of 14 fairways in the final round.
Rough like he'll find in June at Pebble Beach.
"I enjoy that position," Sutton said of being mentioned as one of this year's Open favorites. "If you (reporters) think I'm good enough to win that tournament, well, that's great."
Sutton held a 1-shot lead on Sunday over playing partner Magee with four holes left.
Sutton holed a 10-foot birdie putt on No 15, while Magee bogeyed, a 2-shot swing that enabled the 20-year PGA Tour veteran to pick up the victory at 14-under 274.
The key putt came two holes after Sutton sailed a 100-yard approach shot over the 13th green into deep, deep rough. The result was a bogey on the easiest hole on the course as Magee closed within one.
"That third shot played really short. I was dead from there," he said of his poor position behind the green on the par-5 hole. "It's a decent walk from the 13th green to the 14th tee. All I told myself was, 'I've still got the lead, and let's go drive it in the fairway."'
That's what happened on the next hole as Magee failed to hit his pitching wedge close enough to make a difference in the final few holes.
"This isn't his first rodeo. He knows what to do," Magee said of Sutton. "He knows to hit the greens and put the pressure on the other guy."
The $540,000 first-place prize moved Sutton to $2.3 million, his best season as a pro. It was also the fifth time in his career he's won two tournaments in a season.
Magee's 1-under final round was good enough for second place. Magee hasn't won since 1994, but has seven second-place finishes since then.
Mark Calcavecchia and Dudley Hart tied for third, another shot back. Calcavecchia fired a final-round 65 to make a late charge, while Hart had a 70.
Sutton keeps moving up in the world rankings with each strong showing and is second to Woods on the tour money list. But he's looking for more out of what so far has been a spectacular start to the season.
"My goal at the beginning of the season was to win a major," Sutton said. "I think I've already won the hardest one (the Players Championship), but you don't call it a major. But that's not the one I have my sights set on."
Leading scores and totals in final round of PGA Greater Greensboro Classic, North Carolina, (US unless stated, Par 72):
274 H Sutton 67 64 72 71 277 A Magee 70 68 68 71 278 M Calcavecchia 72 70 71 65, D Hart 72 67 69 70 281 D Dunakey 67 71 72 71, J Kaye 71 67 71 72, C Perry 71 71 69 70 282 S Maruyama (Jpn) 71 69 70 72, J Parnevik (Swe) 69 69 74 70, K Perry 73 70 69 70, O Uresti 67 72 69 74, S Verplank 66 74 70 72 283 B Cheesman 70 66 73 74, B Estes 68 72 73 70, C Spence (Aus) 73 66 75 69 284 S Dunlap 71 67 73 73, J Green 69 72 71 72, T Lehman 73 70 71 70, J Leonard 69 70 73 72, T Scherrer 71 72 69 72 290 F Nobilo (Nzl) 70 72 72 76 292 G Waite (Nzl) 71 72 74 75 297 B Hughes (Aus) 72 72 76 77Reuse content