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Ben Curtis made the Open cut for the first time since his 2003 victory. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Ben Curtis made the Open cut for the first time since his 2003 victory. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Strong finale proves credibility for 2003, Curtis says

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Ben Curtis always felt like he never got the respect he deserved for his victory in the 2003 Open at Royal St. George's. But his 6-under 65 Sunday shows that he indeed belongs on the biggest stage, he said, even after three disappointing years.

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland (PA) -- Former Open champion Ben Curtis believes his 6-under-par 65 on the final day at Carnoustie gives added credibility to his win at Royal St. George's four years ago.

When Curtis, who shot up the leaderboard to finish 3 under, won at Sandwich, he was an unknown and ranked 396th in the world. As a result, his victory received less attention than many othere, and despite two wins on the PGA TOUR the following year he disappeared into obscurity in terms of the majors.

This week Curtis got past the cut for the first time since lifting the Claret Jug, and he made the most of it on the final day. His 65 boosted him up ito a tie for eighth at 3-under 281.

"I think it gives my win credibility," said the 30-year-old from Ohio, who all week has been wearing Miami Dolphins and New York Giants logoes on his clothing to promote those teams' NFL game at Wembley Stadium in London in October.

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"It is a four-day tournament, not a one-day tournament, but I think playing a round like that on a day like today it should prove that it was a great win," said Curtis. "The last three years have been disappointing for me here. This year my main goal was to make the cut, and then after you obviously want to play well and get into contention.

"I didn't think I had a round like that in me," he admitted. "I have been driving it fairly well but my irons have been pretty poor, but today I did a shortened warm-up and just went out there and played to see what would happen.

"Whether it was 5 over or 5 under, who cares?," he said. "It was just one of those days where I made a couple of long putts which got things going my way."

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