Reuters - Sun, 25 Jul 23:29:00 2010
Sweden's Carl Pettersson staged a powerful back-nine charge to overhaul a crumbling Dean Wilson and claim a dramatic one-shot victory at the Canadian Open.
Trailing Wilson by four strokes on the 11th tee, Pettersson shifted into top gear by carding four birdies over the next five holes to surge past the reeling American with a three-under 67 and claim his fourth US PGA Tour title.
"I love the back nine, it sets up great for me," said Pettersson. "I played very aggressive coming in and all of a sudden I had the lead when I birdied 14.
"But 16 and 17 are difficult holes and I knew even with a two-shot lead anything can happen. I guess this was my week."
Pettersson had displayed a flair for the dramatic all week at St. George's Golf and Country Club, just making the one-under cut to sneak into the weekend and rocketing into contention on Saturday with a 10-under 60, the lowest score in the Canadian Open's 101 years.
The Swede provided one final moment of suspense at the 18th when he missed a six-foot par putt but was left an easy tap-in for a bogey and a winning total of 14-under 266.
Only three times in the last four years has a player come from the cut line to win a PGA tournament.
"It's possible but it's rare," added Pettersson. "When I finished (Friday's second round) I thought I had missed.
"I walked into the locker room and Jay Williamson had all the scenarios written out and he's like 'grab a beer'.
"Before you know it I had seven beers, my caddy had to drive me home."
What had been a fairytale week ended in crushing disappointment for Wilson, who only gained entry into the event on a sponsor's exemption after losing his PGA Tour privileges.
After three consecutive 65s, Wilson wilted under the Swede's pressure, stumbling to a final round two-over 72.
Briton Luke Donald also mounted a final day rally, returning a four-under 66 to finish outright third on 12-under with South African Tim Clark among a clutch of nine two shots further back on 270.
"I think when I'm leading the tournament in my mind you have to make up your mind to be real aggressive or to play just a tiny bit safe," said Wilson. "It's hard to just go for them.
"Carl did that towards the end; he just kept shooting at the pins because he had no choice.
"I had a four-shot lead going into the back and just couldn't get anything done, couldn't get any birdies and Carl shot four-under."
After two early bogeys to kick off his round Pettersson had sat six shots behind Wilson, his chances of victory quickly disappearing.
But the 32-year-old Swede levelled at the turn with birdies on eight and nine then picked up shots at 11, 13 and 14 to nudge Wilson from the top of the leaderboard.
Pettersson then moved in for the kill dropping his third consecutive birdie at 15 to leave his playing partner stunned.