Former British Open winner Ben Curtis ended a six-year wait for a PGA Tour victory on Sunday at the Valero Texas Open, and in the process vaulted almost 130 spots in the latest edition of the Official World Golf Ranking. But Lee Westwood won the Indonesian Masters for the second straight year, and didn’t gain an inch in the rankings.
Curtis climbed from 285th all the way up to 156th place in the latest edition of the world rankings on the strength of his victory in San Antonio. Westwood, who entered last week ranked third, stayed right wherehe was, as he was unable to make up any serious ground on the two players ahead of him.
South African Branden Grace, meanwhile, rose to No. 66 from his previous perch at No. 89 after his win at the Volvo China Open. The European Tour Q-School graduate began the season ranked 271st, but won twice quickly in his native South Africa before adding a third triumph in China.
The top 10 in the world ranking stayed exactly the same this week with Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald ahead of Westwood. Masters champion Bubba Watson remains the top-ranked American at No. 4, with Hunter Mahan in fifth. Martin Kaymer, the 2010 PGA Champion, is stuck in sixth, followed by Steve Stricker. No. 8 Tiger Woods remains just ahead of Phil Mickelson, with Doral winner Justin Rose in 10th place.
The second 10 includes No. 11 Louis Oosthuizen, the winner a week ago in Malaysia, followed by No. 12 Adam Scott, No. 13 Charl Schwartzel, No. 14 Webb Simpson, No. 15 Matt Kuchar, No. 16 Jason Day, No. 17 Dustin Johnson, No. 18 Graeme McDowell, No. 19 Bill Haas and reigning PGA Champion Keegan Bradley at No. 20.
Curtis, 34, survived a mid-round wobble to win by two strokes over fellow Americans Matt Every and John Huh. Back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 11 and 12 dropped Curtis back level with Every, but after he and Huh faltered late, Curtis birdied the last to seal his two-shot victory.
"It's been a tough couple of years," said Curtis, who had been playing on a limited status after having not won since the 2006 84 Lumber Classic.
Despite his lack of recent success, he played well on Sunday. He had set up his success after a bogey-free opening two rounds and never trailed Sunday after starting with the 54-hole lead.
The jitters looked like they had settled in when he dropped consecutive shots, but Every, who was denied a first PGA Tour title after his course-record 63 on Thursday, bogeyed No. 15 to slip a stroke back alongside Huh. Curtis made a clutch par putt on the 17th and when Every and Huh failed to birdie the last he reached the final green with two shots to secure the title.