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Monday July 7, 2014 MYT 10:53:24 AM
Monday July 7, 2014 MYT 10:53:24 AM
(Reuters) - It took Angel Cabrera 159 attempts to win a regular PGA Tour event but he broke through in style with an emphatic two-stroke victory at The Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia on Sunday.
The long-hitting Argentine played like the two-time major champion that he is, closing with a six-under-par 64 on Greenbrier's Old White course in White Sulphur Springs.
Boosted by an eagle at the par-four 13th, where he holed out from 175 yards, Cabrera finished on 16-under 264 to claim his first non-major PGA Tour title.
"I've been working hard to get to this moment and I’m very happy the work we've been doing the last few weeks paid off,” the 44-year-old told reporters, adding that the win was a huge boost heading into this month's British Open at Hoylake.
"I needed to win a tournament. I felt under control and I didn't want to let it get away from me.
"I've been confident with my golf swing and now I feel confident mentally."
American George McNeill made a hole-in-one en route to a brilliant 61 to claim second place on 14-under but his success on the course was understandably put into context by the news his sister Michelle had died of cancer on Sunday morning.
There was a further four-stroke gap to 2012 U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, while third round leader Billy Hurley III faded with a 73 to tie for fourth on nine-under.
Hurley received a consolation prize in the form of a berth in the British Open along with fellow Americans McNeill, Chris Stroud and Cameron Tringale.
American Bud Cauley also had a hole-in-one at the 18th to finish equal fourth.
Cabrera collected $1.17 million (6,81,955 pounds) for what was technically his third PGA Tour victory - his previous wins both coming in majors at the 2007 U.S. Open and 2009 Masters.
He drove the ball enormous distances with a new driver, but it was his eagle with an eight-iron on the 13th that paved the way for his victory, giving him a three-shot lead and affording him the luxury of bogeying the next two holes.
His lead down to one, the man from Cordoba calmly drilled his drive more than 300 yards over water at the par-five 17th to set up a two-putt birdie and make victory a formality.
McNeill made his move with a sensational front nine, picking up six strokes in a five-hole stretch, culminating with an ace with a four-iron from 219 yards at the eighth hole.
Golf Channel reported that McNeill had been informed of his sister's death only after his round was completed.
"There are some things going on elsewhere but it's nice to have a good round," McNeill said in an emotional CBS television interview. "Golf doesn't mean a whole lot sometimes."
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Gene Cherry and Nick Mulvenney)
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