IRVING, Texas - Scott Verplank finally captured the tournament yesterday he's always wanted to win. This victory at home was for the late Byron Nelson.

"There's no question in my mind that the stars lined up and I got a little help from upstairs. I just haven't been playing that good," Verplank said after gaining a 1-stroke victory over Luke Donald. "I think Byron had a hand in this week."

Verplank, who as a teenager growing up in Dallas got to know Nelson and play several rounds with the former star, used three straight birdies and an incredible par save from a bunker at No. 17 to win the first EDS Byron Nelson Championship played without its namesake.

When his final two-foot par putt at No. 18 dropped for the victory, Verplank no longer had to hold his emotions at TPC Four Seasons Resort. After initially dropping his head into his hands, he looked up with a smile on his face.

"I just kept saying, 'Oh my gosh! I can't believe it!' I couldn't believed that it happened. It was a dream," Verplank said. "Then I looked up and said, 'Thank you.' Incredible."

Sadly missing was a personal congratulation from Nelson, who died Sept. 26 at age 94. But Nelson's wife, Peggy, was there clutching one of his famed fedoras in her hand when she hugged Verplank.

"Byron would be very, very happy for Scott. I am, too," Peggy Nelson said. "The friendship they had, it's great to see it culminate this way."

In 1968, Nelson became the first golfer to have a PGA Tour event named after him, and he would always greet players finishing their rounds at the 18th green before taking part in the award ceremony.

Verplank closed with a 4-under-66 for a 13-under 267 total, a stroke ahead of Donald (68) for his fifth PGA Tour victory, his first since the 2001 Canadian Open.

Phil Mickelson (65), Jerry Kelly (64), Rory Sabbatini (64) and Ian Poulter (66) tied for third at 10 under.


MORELIA, Mexico - Silvia Cavalleri became the first Italian winner in LPGA Tour history, closing with a 7-under 66 for a 2-stroke victory over Mexican star Lorena Ochoa and Paraguay's Julieta Granada in the Corona Morelia Championship.

Cavalleri finished with a 20-under 272 total on the Tres Marias course and earned $195,000.

She had seven birdies in her bogey-free final round.

Ochoa, the 2006 winner playing her first tournament as the No. 1 player in the world, shot a 68. Granada, also second last year, also finished with a 68.

Cavalleri took the lead with birdies on Nos. 5-7, forcing Ochoa to take a more aggressive approach. The Mexican star pushed hard, but missed several birdies. She lost a ball on the 15th, but came back to par the hole.

European Tour

MADRID, Spain - Charl Schwartzel of South Africa won the Spanish Open after shooting a 5-under 67 to finish at 16-under 272.

Jyoti Randhawa of India (67) had a bogey at No. 15 spoil his round, leaving him in second at 273 at Centro National de Golf.