Uncle knows best for triumphant Watney

As Nick Watney teed up for the final round of the Buick Invitational, he remembered his college days when his own uncle Mike, coach of Fresno State, refused to pick him.

He was never given a free lunch and he knew that, five strokes off the lead after three rounds, victory would have to be earned.

And he did it with a final round of four-under 68, which was good enough for a one-stroke victory over John Rollins, who was three ahead of Watney with five holes remaining.

Watney finished on 11-under 277 for his second PGA Tour title as Rollins stumbled with 74 for his 278. Lucas Glover, with 68 and Colombian Camilo Villegas (72) were joint third on 279.

The 28-year-old Watney can pride himself in the knowledge that every success he has achieved as a pro stemmed from his uncle’s lessons. He said on the PGA Tour website:

“That’s one of the things that I really appreciate that my uncle did for me. I had to earn everything. I was never a coach’s pick. I knew it wasn’t over. My uncle always told me and our team that it was never easy. Winning a golf tournament is never easy. I knew we had some good holes to play, and I definitely didn’t want to give up.”

Although his uncle wasn’t there at Torrey Pines to witness his nephew’s victory, Watney said he would be texting him messages throughout the week, giving him words of advice or simple encouragement.

His previous victory was the Zurich Classic in New Orleans in 2007 and his latest triumph will boost his position on the money list. He was 121 before the Buick event.

Meanwhile, the Asian Tour launched its 2009 season and a rookie from South Africa emerged with an unlikely victory.

James Kamte won his first ever international pro title with victory at the Asian Tour International in Bangkok.

Kamte, who earned his tour card after finishing fourth in Qualifying School, shot five-under-par 66 in the final round for a total of 16-under 268 and a two-stroke victory over third-round leader Tetsuji Hiratsuka, if Japan.

Hiratsuka scored 71 for his 270 and second place. Thailand’s Prom Meesawat, Juvic Pagunsan, of the Philippines, Unho Park and Marcus Both were tied for third.

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