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Former Open champion Curtis ends six-year win drought in Texas

April 23, 2012 -- Updated 1405 GMT (2205 HKT)
Ben Curtis ended a win drought that had lasted 2,045 days after securing the Valero Texas Open title
Ben Curtis ended a win drought that had lasted 2,045 days after securing the Valero Texas Open title
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ben Curtis lands his first trophy for six years by winning the Valero Texas Open
  • The 2003 British Open champ has only qualified for four PGA tournaments this year
  • His last victory came in 2006 but he didn't record a single top ten finish in 2011
  • Curtis wins by two shots from Matt Every and John Huh at the TPC San Antonio

(CNN) -- He's a former British Open champion but Ben Curtis' fall from grace has been such that the Valero Texas Open was only the fourth tournament he'd scraped a place in this season.

But after securing his first PGA Tour victory in six-years on Sunday, and scooping the $1.1 million prize pot, the 34-year-old can stop praying for the phone to ring to offer him a shot at redemption.

His status had sunk to such an extent he had lost his Tour privileges but after holding his nerve over a tense few final holes, he secured a two-stroke victory over Matt Every and John Huh.

"It's been a tough couple of years," an emotional Curtis told the PGA Tour's official website. "Just played through it, that's all you can do.

"You think you're just staying positive and not worried about it, but I think deep down, you realize all the hard work you put in that, you know, finally paid off."

Curtis was catapulted into the limelight when he won the first major tournament he competed in -- the 2003 Open at Royal St George's. It was the first time a player had won on a major debut in 90 years.

He was named PGA Tour rookie of the year that same season, and four further victories followed up to 2006. But his form dipped and so began a drought that lasted 2,045 days.

It's been a tough couple of years. Just played through it, that's all you can do
Ben Curtis

Last year, he failed to record a single top ten finish for the first time since he joined the Tour.

"That's a long time," he added. "The last couple of years I felt like I was so close to playing so many good tournaments.

"I'd end up missing the cut by one or I'd have a bad round here or there or I haven't putted well. Finally, every part of the game came together."

Curtis showed he still has the mettle required to get over the line in a dramatic final few holes. He saved par on the 17th hole with a nerveless 23-foot putt.

Then on the final hole he rolled in a birdie putt to finish on nine-under and claim the tournament by two clear strokes.

"When you come out here and win one, well, if I win one every year I have a great career. That would be true," Curtis said.

"But, you know, to get to three, four, five wins -- you're a solid player. I just feel like you get yourself into contention and just have that belief, and anything can happen."

His victory secured Curtis a two-year Tour card and almost certainly means he will qualify for the lucrative FedExCup Playoffs at the end of the season.

After restoring his pride, Curtis is determined to make the most of his reinstated privileges too, which means he can play in all but a few tournaments on the 2012 Tour.

So where will he begin? "New Orleans next week," he replied.

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