GREENSBORO, August 23 – Arjun Atwal became the first player born in India to win on the US PGA Tour by shooting a final round three-under par 67 to capture the Wyndham Championship on Sunday.The 37-year-old Atwal finished at 20-under-par 260 to beat American David Toms (64) by one stroke.
"It feels great. I have no words. I grinded it today," Atwal said.
Atwal also became the first Monday qualifier to win the ensuing tournament in 24 years, following Fred Wadsworth at the 1986 Southern Open.
Atwal has enjoyed victories on the European, Asian and Nationwide tours but not until now on the US PGA Tour.
He entered Sunday’s round with a three-shot lead and needed a par on the closing hole to seal the deal.
Atwal played No. 18 conservatively. He blasted his approach into the spectators’ tent, choosing to take a drop in the rough rather than try to place his ball on the green.
He chipped it onto the green then one-putted for the win.
"I was so nervous over that putt," Atwal said. "I am just glad it went in."
Atwal, who earned 918,000 dollars for the victory, led or shared the lead after each of the first three rounds.
Toms was on 19-under 201 while John Mallinger and Michael Sim both shot 62s and were joined by John Rollins (65) and Justin Leonard (65) at 202.
Three years ago, Atwal was involved in a fatal car crash in Orlando that killed a Florida man. Witnesses told police that Atwal, who was driving a BMW sedan, and the other driver were street racing — a charge that Atwal denies.
Atwal lost his tour card in July because he was unable to win enough money to retain his medical exemption beyond eight events this season, forcing him into Monday qualifying sessions. Atwal missed much of last year with injuries.
Atwal said his goal this week was to get one step closer to regaining his PGA Tour card for next season. The victory gave him a two-year berth on the PGA Tour.